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Asymmetric information, self-serving bias and the pretrial negotiation impasse

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  • Eric Langlais

Abstract

There is evidence that asymmetric information does exist between litigants: not in a way supporting Bebchuk (1984)’s assumption that defendants’ degree of fault is private information, but more likely as a result of parties’ predictive capacity about the outcome at trial (Osborne, 1999). In this paper, we investigate the incidence of one component of this asymmetric predictive power, which has been examplified in experimental economics. We assume that litigants assess their priors on the plaintiff’s prevailing rate at trial in a way consistent with the self-serving bias, which is the source of the asymmetric information. We compare the predictions of this model regarding the influence of individual priors with those in the literature. Finally, we analyse the influence of another reason for probability distorsion, i.e. risk aversion in the sense of Yaari (1987).

Suggested Citation

  • Eric Langlais, 2008. "Asymmetric information, self-serving bias and the pretrial negotiation impasse," EconomiX Working Papers 2008-30, University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX.
  • Handle: RePEc:drm:wpaper:2008-30
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    1. Diecidue, Enrico & Wakker, Peter P, 2001. "On the Intuition of Rank-Dependent Utility," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 23(3), pages 281-298, November.
    2. Waldfogel, Joel, 1998. "Reconciling Asymmetric Information and Divergent Expectations Theories of Litigation," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 41(2), pages 451-476, October.
    3. Michael R. Baye & Dan Kovenock & Casper G. Vries, 2005. "Comparative Analysis of Litigation Systems: An Auction-Theoretic Approach," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(505), pages 583-601, July.
    4. Lucian Arye Bebchuk, 1984. "Litigation and Settlement under Imperfect Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(3), pages 404-415, Autumn.
    5. Linda Babcock & George Loewenstein, 1997. "Explaining Bargaining Impasse: The Role of Self-Serving Biases," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(1), pages 109-126, Winter.
    6. Akerlof, George A & Dickens, William T, 1982. "The Economic Consequences of Cognitive Dissonance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 307-319, June.
    7. 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.
    8. Farber, Henry S & Bazerman, Max H, 1987. "Why Is There Disagreement in Bargaining?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(2), pages 347-352, May.
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    10. Osborne, Evan, 1999. "Who should be worried about asymmetric information in litigation?," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 399-409, September.
    11. Katz, Avery, 1987. "Measuring the Demand for Litigation: Is the English Rule Really Cheaper?," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 3(2), pages 143-176, Fall.
    12. Langlais, Eric, 2008. "Cognitive dissonance, risk aversion and the pretrial negotiation impasse," MPRA Paper 8844, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Ichino, Andrea & Polo, Michele & Rettore, Enrico, 2003. "Are judges biased by labor market conditions?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(5), pages 913-944, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Andrea Gallice, 2009. "Self-serving biased reference points," Department of Economic Policy, Finance and Development (DEPFID) University of Siena 0909, Department of Economic Policy, Finance and Development (DEPFID), University of Siena.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    litigation; pretrial bargaining; self-serving bias; risk aversion;

    JEL classification:

    • D81 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Criteria for Decision-Making under Risk and Uncertainty
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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