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The Use of "Most-Favored-Nation" Clauses in Settlement of Litigation


  • Spier, Kathryn E


Many settlement contracts in litigation involving multiple plaintiffs (or multiple defendants) include "most-favored-nation" (MFN) clauses. If an early settlement includes an MFN and the defendant settles later with another plaintiff for more money, the early settlers receive these terms too. If the defendant knows the aggregate distribution of expected awards but cannot discriminate among the privately informed plaintiffs, then MFNs avoid costly delay. Plaintiffs with weak cases settle early rather than on the courthouse steps. The effects of MFNs on the settlement terms, plaintiffs' welfare, litigation rates, and the defendant's ex ante incentives are considered and alternative explanations are explored. Copyright 2003 by the RAND Corporation.

Suggested Citation

  • Spier, Kathryn E, 2003. " The Use of "Most-Favored-Nation" Clauses in Settlement of Litigation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 34(1), pages 78-95, Spring.
  • Handle: RePEc:rje:randje:v:34:y:2003:i:1:p:78-95

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jaffe, Adam B & Fogarty, Michael S & Banks, Bruce A, 1998. "Evidence from Patents and Patent Citations on the Impact of NASA and Other Federal Labs on Commercial Innovation," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(2), pages 183-205, June.
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    6. Zvi Griliches, 1998. "Patent Statistics as Economic Indicators: A Survey," NBER Chapters,in: R&D and Productivity: The Econometric Evidence, pages 287-343 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    8. Bloch, Francis & Markowitz, Paul, 1996. "Optimal disclosure delay in multistage R&D competition," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 159-179.
    9. Jean O. Lanjouw & Mark Schankerman, 1999. "The Quality of Ideas: Measuring Innovation with Multiple Indicators," NBER Working Papers 7345, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    12. Eaton, Jonathan & Kortum, Samuel, 1999. "International Technology Diffusion: Theory and Measurement," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 40(3), pages 537-570, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Rohan Pitchford & Mark L. J. Wright, 2012. "Holdouts in Sovereign Debt Restructuring: A Theory of Negotiation in a Weak Contractual Environment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(2), pages 812-837.
    2. Xu, Frances Zhiyun, 2011. "Optimal best-price policy," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 29(5), pages 628-643, September.
    3. Hua, Xinyu, 2012. "The right of first offer," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 389-397.
    4. Yeon-Koo Che & Kathryn E. Spier, 2008. "Exploiting Plaintiffs through Settlement: Divide and Conquer," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 164(1), pages 4-23, March.

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