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Too many lawyers? Litigation in Italian civil courts


  • Amanda Carmignani

    () (Bank of Italy)

  • Silvia Giacomelli

    () (Bank of Italy)


In this paper we investigate the relationship between the number of lawyers and civil litigation across Italian provinces over the period 2000-2005. First, we document the existence of a positive correlation between the number of lawyers and litigation. We then employ a 2SLS approach to verify the existence of a causal effect. We use as an exogenous source of variation for the number of lawyers the differences among provinces in the proximity of a law school in 1975. Our results show that the number of lawyers has a positive effect on litigation and that the magnitude of this effect is large.

Suggested Citation

  • Amanda Carmignani & Silvia Giacomelli, 2010. "Too many lawyers? Litigation in Italian civil courts," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 745, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  • Handle: RePEc:bdi:wptemi:td_745_10

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Massimiliano Bratti & Daniele Checchi & Guido de Blasio, 2008. "Does the Expansion of Higher Education Increase the Equality of Educational Opportunities? Evidence from Italy," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 22(s1), pages 53-88, June.
    2. Andrei Shleifer & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Rafael La Porta, 2008. "The Economic Consequences of Legal Origins," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 46(2), pages 285-332, June.
    3. Gerhard Clemenz & Klaus Gugler, 2000. "Macroeconomic Development and Civil Litigation," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 9(3), pages 215-230, May.
    4. Tom Ginsburg & Glenn Hoetker, 2006. "The Unreluctant Litigant? An Empirical Analysis of Japan’s Turn to Litigation," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(1), pages 31-59, January.
    5. Darby, Michael R & Karni, Edi, 1973. "Free Competition and the Optimal Amount of Fraud," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 67-88, April.
    6. Posner, Richard A, 1997. "Explaining the Variance in the Number of Tort Suits across U.S. States and between the United States and England," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(2), pages 477-489, June.
    7. A. Mitchell Polinsky & Daniel L. Rubinfeld, 2003. "Aligning the Interests of Lawyers and Clients," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(1), pages 165-188.
    8. Yamamura Eiji, 2008. "The Market for Lawyers and Social Capital: Are Informal Rules a Substitute for Formal Ones?," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 499-517, December.
    9. Magda Bianco & Silvia Giacomelli & Cristina Giorgiantonio & Giuliana Palumbo & Bruna Szego, 2007. "La durata (eccessiva) dei procedimenti civili in Italia: offerta, domanda o rito?," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, vol. 97(5), pages 3-54, September.
    10. Emons, Winand, 2000. "Expertise, contingent fees, and insufficient attorney effort," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 21-33, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Massenot Baptiste, 2014. "Lawyers and Investment," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 9(3), pages 439-452, January.
    2. Castro Massimo Finocchiaro & Guccio Calogero, 2015. "Bottlenecks or Inefficiency? An Assessment of First Instance Italian Courts’ Performance," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 11(2), pages 317-354, July.
    3. Feser, Daniel & Proeger, Till, 2015. "Knowledge-intensive business services as credence goods: A demand-side approach," Center for European, Governance and Economic Development Research Discussion Papers 232, University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
    4. Amanda Carmignani & Francesco Bripi & Raffaela Giordano, 2011. "The quality of public services in Italy," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 84, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    5. Buonanno Paolo & Galizzi Matteo M., 2014. "Advocatus, et non Latro? Testing the Excess of Litigation in the Italian Courts of Justice," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 10(3), pages 1-38, November.
    6. Miguel García-Posada & Juan Mora-Sanguinetti, 2015. "Entrepreneurship and enforcement institutions: disaggregated evidence for Spain," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 40(1), pages 49-74, August.
    7. Mora-Sanguinetti, Juan S. & Garoupa, Nuno, 2015. "Do lawyers induce litigation? Evidence from Spain, 2001–2010," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 29-41.

    More about this item


    civil justice; litigation; market for lawyers;

    JEL classification:

    • K41 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Litigation Process
    • J44 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Professional Labor Markets and Occupations
    • L84 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Personal, Professional, and Business Services

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