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Legal Change and the Social Value of Lawsuits

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  • Thomas J. Miceli

    (University of Connecticut)

Abstract

This paper integrates the literatures on the social value of lawsuits, the evolution of the law, and judicial preferences to evaluate the hypothesis that the law evolves toward efficiency. The setting is a simple accident model with costly litigation where the efficient law minimizes the sum of accident plus litigation costs. In the steady state equilibrium, the distribution of legal rules is not necessarily efficient but instead depends on a combination of selective litigation, judicial bias, and precedent.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Connecticut, Department of Economics in its series Working papers with number 2008-34.

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Date of creation: Sep 2008
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Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2008-34

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Postal: University of Connecticut 341 Mansfield Road, Unit 1063 Storrs, CT 06269-1063
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Web page: http://www.econ.uconn.edu/
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Keywords: Efficiency of the law; judicial decision making; legal change; precedent; value of lawsuits;

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References

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  1. William M. Landes, 1974. "An Economic Analysis of the Courts," NBER Chapters, in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 164-214 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Gennaioli, Nicola & Shleifer, Andrei, 2007. "Overruling and the instability of law," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 309-328, June.
  3. George L. Priest & Benjamin Klein, 1984. "The Selection of Disputes for Litigation," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(1), pages 1-56, January.
  4. Gennaioli, Nicola & Shleifer, Andrei, 2007. "The Evolution of Common Law," Scholarly Articles 3451305, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Miceli, Thomas J. & Cosgel, Metin M., 1994. "Reputation and judicial decision-making," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 31-51, January.
  6. Fon, Vincy & Parisi, Francesco, 2003. " Litigation and the Evolution of Legal Remedies: A Dynamic Model," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 116(3-4), pages 419-33, September.
  7. Keith N. Hylton, 2006. "Information, Litigation, and Common Law Evolution," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(1), pages 33-61.
  8. Lucian Arye Bebchuk, 1987. "Suing Solely to Extract a Settlement Offer," NBER Working Papers 2161, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Shavell, Steven, 1996. "Any Frequency of Plaintiff Victory at Trial Is Possible," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25(2), pages 493-501, June.
  10. Cohen, Mark A, 1991. "Explaining Judicial Behavior or What's "Unconstitutional" about the Sentencing Commission?," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(1), pages 183-99, Spring.
  11. Thomas J. Miceli, 2009. "Legal Change: Selective Litigation, Judicial Bias, and Precedent," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(1), pages 157-168, 01.
  12. Shavell, Steven, 1997. "The Fundamental Divergence between the Private and the Social Motive to Use the Legal System," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(2), pages 575-612, June.
  13. Vincy Fon & Francesco Parisi & Ben Depoorter, 2005. "Litigation, Judicial Path-Dependence, and Legal Change," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 20(1), pages 43-56, July.
  14. Shavell, Steven, 1999. "The level of litigation: private versus social optimality of suit and of settlement," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 99-115, March.
  15. Lucian Arye Bebchuk, 1984. "Litigation and Settlement under Imperfect Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(3), pages 404-415, Autumn.
  16. Whitman, Douglas Glen, 2000. "Evolution of the Common Law and the Emergence of Compromise," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(2), pages 753-81, June.
  17. Hylton, Keith N., 1990. "The influence of litigation costs on deterrence under strict liability and under negligence," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 161-171, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Keith N. Hylton & Haizhen Lin, 2009. "Trial Selection Theory: A Unified Model," Working Papers 2009-06, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
  2. Rustam Romaniuc, 2012. "Judicial Dissent under Externalities and Incomplete Information," Czech Economic Review, Charles University Prague, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Economic Studies, vol. 6(3), pages 209-224, October.

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