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Against Compromise: A Mechanism Design Approach

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  • Alon Klement

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  • Zvika Neeman

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Abstract

We consider the following situation. A risk-neutral plaintiff sues a risk-neutral defendant for damages that are normalized to one. The defendant knows whether she is liable or not, but the plaintiff does not. We ask what are the settlement procedure and fee-shifting rule (which, together, we call a mechanism) that minimize the rate of litigation subject to maintaining deterrence. Two main results are presented. The ?rst is a characterization of an upper bound on the rate of settlement that is consistent with maintaining deterrence. This upper bound is shown to be independent of the litigants' litigation cost. It is further shown that any mechanism that attains this upper bound must employ the English fee-shifting rule according to which all litigation costs are shifted to the loser in trial. The second result describes a simple practicable mechanism that attains this upper bound. We discuss our results in the context of recent legal reforms in the U.S. and U.K.

Suggested Citation

  • Alon Klement & Zvika Neeman, 2003. "Against Compromise: A Mechanism Design Approach," Discussion Paper Series dp290, The Federmann Center for the Study of Rationality, the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
  • Handle: RePEc:huj:dispap:dp290
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    Cited by:

    1. J.J. Prescott & Kathryn E. Spier & Albert Yoon, 2014. "Trial and Settlement: A Study of High-Low Agreements," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 57(3), pages 699-746.
    2. J.J. Prescott & Kathryn E. Spier & Albert Yoon, 2014. "Trial and Settlement: A Study of High-Low Agreements," NBER Working Papers 19873, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Madhav S. Aney, 2012. "Conflict with Quitting Rights: A Mechanism Design Approach," Working Papers 18-2012, Singapore Management University, School of Economics.
    4. Ben Chen & Jose A. Rodrigues Neto, 2017. "Emotions in Civil Litigation," ANU Working Papers in Economics and Econometrics 2017-653, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics.
    5. Andrew F. Daughety & Reinganum F. Reinganum, 2014. "Settlement and Trial: Selected Analyses of the Bargaining Environment," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 14-00005, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics.
    6. Zvika Neeman & Gregory Pavlov, 2010. "Renegotiation-proof Mechanism Design," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 20101, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
    7. Gorkem Celik, 2015. "Implementation by Gradual Revelation," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 46(2), pages 271-296, June.
    8. Neeman, Zvika & Pavlov, Gregory, 2013. "Ex post renegotiation-proof mechanism design," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 148(2), pages 473-501.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    litigation; settlement; fee-shifting; pleadings; deterrence;

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • K41 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Litigation Process

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