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Litigation and settlement under judicial agency

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  • Koçkesen, Levent
  • Usman, Murat

Abstract

We model the settlement of a legal dispute when the trial outcome depends on the behavior of a strategically motivated judge. A defendant, who is uninformed about the level of harm that he has caused, makes a take-it-or-leave-it offer to an informed plaintiff. If the parties cannot agree on a settlement and the case goes to trial, the judge decides how much effort to exert in discovering the actual damages. We show that, under very general assumptions, this model exhibits multiple equilibria. In some equilibria, the judge exerts less effort and more cases settle out of court, whereas in others the opposite occurs. We also show that the judge prefers the low effort equilibria with high settlement rate and argue that a “managerial judge” could easily steer the parties towards low effort equilibria. This may be deemed undesirable, since in low-effort equilibria, the terms of the settlement heavily favor the informed plaintiff, and this in turn induces over-investment in ex ante preventive care by the defendant.

Suggested Citation

  • Koçkesen, Levent & Usman, Murat, 2012. "Litigation and settlement under judicial agency," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 300-308.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:irlaec:v:32:y:2012:i:3:p:300-308
    DOI: 10.1016/j.irle.2012.03.002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Berlemann, Michael & Christmann, Robin, 2014. "Determinants of In-Court Settlements Empiricial Evidence from a German Trial Court," Working Paper 155/2014, Helmut Schmidt University, Hamburg.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Litigation; Settlement; Judicial agency; Managerial judges;

    JEL classification:

    • K00 - Law and Economics - - General - - - General (including Data Sources and Description)
    • K41 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Litigation Process
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory

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