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Demand for a Jury Trial and the Selection of Cases for Trial

Listed author(s):
  • Joni Hersch

This paper uses a unique data set to examine how parties in civil litigation choose whether to demand a jury trial or to waive this right and whether trial forum influences the probability of trial versus settlement. Plaintiffs are more likely to demand trial by jury when juries are relatively more favorable to plaintiffs in similar cases and jury trials are relatively less costly than bench trials. Cases in which jury trials are demanded are 5.5 percentage points more likely to settle without a trial than cases in which jury trials are waived. This differential settlement rate by potential trial forum suggests that tried cases are not a random sample of the set of legal disputes, so observed similarities between bench and jury verdicts may result from case selection effects.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/498831
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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal The Journal of Legal Studies.

Volume (Year): 35 (2006)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 119-142

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlstud:v:35:y:2006:p:119-142
DOI: 10.1086/498831
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLS/

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  1. Viscusi, W Kip, 1988. "Product Liability Litigation with Risk Aversion," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(1), pages 101-121, January.
  2. Waldfogel, Joel, 1995. "The Selection Hypothesis and the Relationship between Trial and Plaintiff Victory," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 103(2), pages 229-260, April.
  3. Kessler, Daniel & Meites, Thomas & Miller, Geoffrey P, 1996. "Explaining Deviations from the Fifty-Percent Rule: A Multimodal Approach to the Selection of Cases for Litigation," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25(1), pages 233-259, January.
  4. Joni Hersch & W. Kip Viscusi, 2004. "Punitive Damages: How Judges and Juries Perform," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(1), pages 1-36, January.
  5. Helland, Eric & Tabarrok, Alexander T, 2000. "Runaway Judges? Selection Effects and the Jury," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(2), pages 306-333, October.
  6. William M. Landes, 1974. "An Economic Analysis of the Courts," NBER Chapters,in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 164-214 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. George L. Priest & Benjamin Klein, 1984. "The Selection of Disputes for Litigation," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(1), pages 1-56, January.
  8. Fournier, Gary M & Zuehlke, Thomas W, 1989. "Litigation and Settlement: An Empirical Approach," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 71(2), pages 189-195, May.
  9. Henry S. Farber & Michelle J. White, 1991. "Medical Malpractice: An Empirical Examination of the Litigation Process," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(2), pages 199-217, Summer.
  10. Lucian Arye Bebchuk, 1984. "Litigation and Settlement under Imperfect Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(3), pages 404-415, Autumn.
  11. Eric Helland & Alexander Taberrok, "undated". "Runaway Judges? Selection Effects and the Jury," Claremont Colleges Working Papers 2000-10, Claremont Colleges.
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