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Courts as Casinos? An Empirical Investigation of Randomness and Efficiency in Civil Litigation

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  • Osborne, Evan

Abstract

For a variety of reasons, the U.S. legal system has been accused of performing poorly because of the haphazard way in which courts assess liability and award damages. This article examines the relation of court awards to the pretrial expectations of litigants and their attorneys and to measurable, economically relevant damages. Court awards are highly predictable, as variance in expectations explains much of the variance in awards. In addition, awards are significantly related to both medical costs and property damage. The hypothesis of a highly unpredictable court system is conclusively rejected. Copyright 1999 by the University of Chicago.

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  • Osborne, Evan, 1999. "Courts as Casinos? An Empirical Investigation of Randomness and Efficiency in Civil Litigation," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(1), pages 187-203, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlstud:v:28:y:1999:i:1:p:187-203
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/468049
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    Cited by:

    1. Santolino, Miguel, 2010. "Determinants of the decision to appeal against motor bodily injury judgements made by Spanish trial courts," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 37-45, March.
    2. Enrico Colombatto, 2007. "It was the rule of law. Will it be the rule of judges?," ICER Working Papers 41-2007, ICER - International Centre for Economic Research.

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