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Information and Externalities in Sequential Litigation

Author

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  • Xinyu Hua
  • Kathryn E. Spier

Abstract

The information created and disseminated through the litigation process can have social value. Suppose a long-lived plaintiff is suing a defendant for damages sustained in an accident. The plaintiff may suffer similar damages in future accidents involving different defendants. Potential injurers update their beliefs after observing the first case and subsequently fine-tune their precautions to avoid accidents. The joint incentive of the plaintiff and the first defendant to create public information through litigation is too small. The optimal liability rule trades off providing future injurers with incentives to take precautions and providing the plaintiff with incentives to create information.

Suggested Citation

  • Xinyu Hua & Kathryn E. Spier, 2004. "Information and Externalities in Sequential Litigation," NBER Working Papers 10943, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10943
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. A. Mitchell Polinsky & Yeon-Koo Che, 1991. "Decoupling Liability: Optimal Incentives for Care and Litigation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(4), pages 562-570, Winter.
    3. Spier, Kathryn E. & Sykes, Alan O., 1998. "Capital structure, priority rules, and the settlement of civil claims," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 187-200, June.
    4. Shavell, Steven, 1997. "The Fundamental Divergence between the Private and the Social Motive to Use the Legal System," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(2), pages 575-612, June.
    5. Che, Yeon-Koo & Yi, Jong Goo, 1993. "The Role of Precedents in Repeated Litigation," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(2), pages 399-424, October.
    6. Kaplow, Louis & Shavell, Steven, 1996. "Accuracy in the Assessment of Damages," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 39(1), pages 191-210, April.
    7. Kornhauser, Lewis A & Revesz, Richard L, 1994. "Multidefendant Settlements: The Impact of Joint and Several Liability," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(1), pages 41-76, January.
    8. Kornhauser, Lewis A & Revesz, Richard L, 1994. "Multidefendant Settlements under Joint and Several Liability: The Problem of Insolvency," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(1), pages 517-542, January.
    9. Che, Yeon-Koo, 1996. "Equilibrium formation of class action suits," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(3), pages 339-361, November.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • K13 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Tort Law and Product Liability; Forensic Economics
    • K41 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Litigation Process
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness

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