Lawyers as Agents of the Devil in a Prisoner's Dilemma Game: Evidence from Long Run Play
Do the parties in a typical dispute face incentives similar to those in the classic prisoner's dilemma game? In this paper, we explore whether the costs and benefits of legal representation are such that each party seeks legal representation in the hope of exploiting the other party, while knowing full well that failing to do so will open up the possibility of being exploited. The paper first shows how it is possible to test for the presence of such an incentive structure in a typical dispute resolution system. It then reports estimates of the incentives for the parties to obtain legal representation in wage disputes that were settled by final-offer arbitration in New Jersey. The paper also reports briefly on similar studies of data from discharge grievances, court-annexed disputes in Pittsburgh, and child custody disputes in California. In each case, the data provide evidence that the parties face strong individual incentives to obtain legal representation which makes the parties jointly worse off. Using our New Jersey data, we find that expert agents may well have played a productive role in moderating the biases of their clients, but only early on in the history of the system. Over time, the parties slowly evolved to a non-cooperative equilibrium where the use of lawyers becomes nearly universal, despite the fact that agreeing not to hire lawyers is cheaper and does not appear to alter arbitration outcomes.
|Date of creation:||Feb 2013|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published in: Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, 2013, 10 (3), 399-423|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany|
Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page: http://www.iza.org
|Order Information:|| Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany|
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Orley Ashenfelter & Gordon B. Dahl, 2012. "Bargaining and the Role of Expert Agents: An Empirical Study of Final-Offer Arbitration," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 94(1), pages 116-132, February.
- Ashenfelter, Orley, et al, 1992.
"An Experimental Comparison of Dispute Rates in Alternative Arbitration Systems,"
Econometric Society, vol. 60(6), pages 1407-33, November.
- Ashenfelter, O. & Currie, J. & Farber, H.S. & Spiegel, M., 1990. "An Experimental Comparison Of Dispute Rates In Alternative Arbitration Systems," Papers 55, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Discussion Paper.
- Ashenfelter, O. & Currie, J. & Farber, H.S., 1990. "An Experimental Comparison Of Dispute Rates In Alternative Arbritation Systems," Working papers 562, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
- Orley Ashenfelter & Janet Currie & Henry S. Farber & Matthew Spiegel, 1990. "An Experimental Comparison of Dispute Rates in Alternative Arbitration Systems," NBER Working Papers 3417, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Lucian Arye Bebchuk, 1984. "Litigation and Settlement under Imperfect Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(3), pages 404-415, Autumn.
- Farber, Henry S & Bazerman, Max H, 1986. "The General Basis of Arbitrator Behavior: An Empirical Analysis of Conventional and Final-Offer Arbitration," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(4), pages 819-44, July.
- David E. Bloom, 1986.
"Empirical Models of Arbitrator Behavior Under Conventional Arbitration,"
NBER Working Papers
1841, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Bloom, David E, 1986. "Empirical Models of Arbitrator Behavior under Conventional Arbitration," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 68(4), pages 578-85, November.
- Dana, James D, Jr & Spier, Kathryn E, 1993. "Expertise and Contingent Fees: The Role of Asymmetric Information in Attorney Compensation," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(2), pages 349-67, October.
- Farber, Henry S & Bazerman, Max H, 1986. "The General Basis of Arbitrator Behavior: An Empirical Analysis of Conventional and Final-Offer Arbitration," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(6), pages 1503-28, November.
- Katz, Avery, 1988. "Judicial decisionmaking and litigation expenditure," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 127-143, December.
- Henry S. Farber & Harry C. Katz, 1979. "Interest Arbitration, Outcomes, and the Incentive to Bargain," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 33(1), pages 55-63, October.
- Kritikos, Alexander S., 2005.
"The Impact of Compulsory Arbitration on Bargaining Behavior: An Experimental Study,"
230, European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder), Department of Business Administration and Economics.
- Alexander Kritikos, 2006. "The Impact of Compulsory Arbitration on Bargaining Behavior: An Experimental Study," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 7(3), pages 293-315, August.
- Jennifer F. Reinganum & Louise L. Wilde, 1986. "Settlement, Litigation, and the Allocation of Litigation Costs," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(4), pages 557-566, Winter.
- Henry S. Farber, 1980. "An Analysis of Final-Offer Arbitration," Journal of Conflict Resolution, Peace Science Society (International), vol. 24(4), pages 683-705, December.
- Richard N. Block & Jack Stieber, 1987. "The Impact of Attorneys and Arbitrators on Arbitration Awards," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 40(4), pages 543-555, July.
- Spier, Kathryn E, 1994. "Settlement Bargaining and the Design of Damage Awards," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 10(1), pages 84-95, April.
- I.P.L. P'ng, 1983. "Strategic Behavior in Suit, Settlement, and Trial," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(2), pages 539-550, Autumn.
- 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.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7245. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak)
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.