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An analytical framework for interpreting appellate court data


  • Bharat Bhole

    () (Rochester Institute of Technology)

  • Bríd Gleeson Hanna

    () (Rochester Institute of Technology)


The objective of this paper is to present a simple but flexible theoretical model of the adjudication process that can be used to derive implications of various hypotheses about the adjudicators and litigants for the trial win rates, appeal rates and the reversal rates. Such a model can serve as a helpful tool for guiding empirical work on attitudes and competency of adjudicators and litigants. We use the model to study how the appeal and reversal rates are affected by the litigants'' perception that the trial court has a pro-plaintiff bias. We find that such a perception can result in higher appeal and reversal rates for the defendants relative to the plaintiffs, a pattern that is observed in the data.

Suggested Citation

  • Bharat Bhole & Bríd Gleeson Hanna, 2009. "An analytical framework for interpreting appellate court data," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 29(2), pages 1163-1174.
  • Handle: RePEc:ebl:ecbull:eb-09-00110

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Spitzer, Matt & Talley, Eric, 2000. "Judicial Auditing," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(2), pages 649-683, June.
    2. Shavell, Steven, 1995. "The Appeals Process as a Means of Error Correction," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(2), pages 379-426, June.
    3. Theodore Eisenberg & Michael Heise, 2009. "Plaintiphobia in State Courts? An Empirical Study of State Court Trials on Appeal," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(1), pages 121-155, January.
    4. Steven Shavell, 2006. "The Appeals Process and Adjudicator Incentives," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(1), pages 1-29, January.
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    More about this item


    Trial Court Bias; Appeal Rates; Reversal Rates; Adjudication Process; Appellate Courts;

    JEL classification:

    • K4 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior
    • K0 - Law and Economics - - General


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