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The Plaintiff's Role in Enforcing a Court Ruling: Evidence from a Labor Court in Mexico

  • David S. Kaplan
  • Joyce Sadka

We analyze the outcomes of 332 cases from a labor court in Mexico in which a judge awarded money to a plaintiff who claimed to have been fired by a firm without cause. The judgments were enforced in only 40% of the cases. A plaintiff may try to enforce a judgment by petitioning the court to seize the firm's assets when the firm refuses to pay. Thirty eight percent of the enforced judgments required at least one seizure attempt. We estimate the parameters of post judgment games in which the worker does not know if a seizure attempt would ultimately succeed and show that these models explain the data well. We then simulate the effects of a policy that reduces worker costs of a seizure attempt. We find that this policy would increase the probability of enforcement, either by increasing the probability that the worker attempts an asset seizure or by inducing firms to pay voluntarily to avoid such seizure attempts. However, reducing worker costs of seizure attempts can only have a modest effect on enforcement probabilities because a high percentage of firms are able to avoid payment in spite of worker efforts to force collection.

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Paper provided by Inter-American Development Bank in its series IDB Publications (Working Papers) with number 38198.

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Date of creation: Jul 2011
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Handle: RePEc:idb:brikps:38198
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  1. Simeon Djankov & Oliver Hart & Caralee McLiesh & Andrei Shleifer, 2008. "Debt Enforcement around the World," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(6), pages 1105-1149, December.
  2. Ricardo Caballero & Kevin N. Cowan & Eduardo M. R. A. Engel & Alejandro Micco, 2004. "Effective labor regulation and microeconomic flexibility," Working Papers 04-6, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  3. Josh Lerner & Antoinette Schoar, 2005. "Does Legal Enforcement Affect Financial Transactions? The Contractual Channel in Private Equity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(1), pages 223-246, January.
  4. Kaplan, David S. & Sadka, Joyce, 2008. "Enforceability of labor law : evidence from a labor court in Mexico," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4483, The World Bank.
  5. John Haltiwanger & Stefano Scarpetta & Helena Schweiger, 2008. "Assessing Job Flows Across Countries: The Role of Industry, Firm Size and Regulations," NBER Working Papers 13920, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silane & Andrei Shleifer, 2003. "What Works in Securities Law?," NBER Working Papers 9882, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Gabriel Montes Rojas & Mauricio SantamarĂ­a, 2007. "The Burden of Labour Costs in Mexico," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 21(1), pages 157-188, 03.
  8. Djankov, Simeon & La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei, 2008. "The law and economics of self-dealing," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(3), pages 430-465, June.
  9. Kaplan, David S. & Sadka, Joyce & Silva-Mendez, Jorge Luis, 2007. "Litigation and settlement : new evidence from labor courts in Mexico," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4434, The World Bank.
  10. Almeida, Rita & Carneiro, Pedro, 2008. "Enforcement of labor regulation and firm size," Social Protection Discussion Papers 43675, The World Bank.
  11. Govindan, Srihari & Reny, Philip J. & Robson, Arthur J., 2003. "A short proof of Harsanyi's purification theorem," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 369-374, November.
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