Legal change and the social value of lawsuits
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. The analysis shows that the law will not generally evolve completely toward any one rule, but will reach a steady state equilibrium in which the distribution of rules depends both on the selective litigation effect and the nature of judicial bias. The analysis also links legal change with the social value of lawsuits to allow an explicit evaluation of the lawmaking function of trials.
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