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The Effect of Offer-of-Settlement Rules on the Terms of Settlement

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  • Lucian Arye Bebchuk
  • Howard F. Chang

Abstract

Under an offer of settlement' rule, a party to a lawsuit may make a special offer to settle with the other party, such that if the other party rejects this offer, then this offer (unlike an ordinary offer) becomes part of the record in the case and may affect the allocation of litigation costs. Specifically, if the parties litigate to judgment, then the allocation of litigation costs may depend on how the judgment compares with the special offer. This paper develops a model of bargaining under offer-of-settlement rules that can be used to analyze the effect that such rules have on the terms of settlement. The analysis first sets forth a general principle that identifies the settlement amount under any such rule. We then apply this principle to derive the settlement terms under the most important of these rules, and we identify a large set of seemingly different rules that produce identical settlements. Our results have both positive and normative implications.

Suggested Citation

  • Lucian Arye Bebchuk & Howard F. Chang, 2000. "The Effect of Offer-of-Settlement Rules on the Terms of Settlement," NBER Working Papers 6509, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6509
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Rubinstein, Ariel, 1982. "Perfect Equilibrium in a Bargaining Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 97-109, January.
    2. Kathryn E. Spier, 1994. "Pretrial Bargaining and the Design of Fee-Shifting Rules," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(2), pages 197-214, Summer.
    3. Chung, Tai-Yeong, 1996. "Settlement of Litigation under Rule 68: An Economic Analysis," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25(1), pages 261-286, January.
    4. 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.
    5. Lucian Arye Bebchuk, 1984. "Litigation and Settlement under Imperfect Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(3), pages 404-415, Autumn.
    6. Anderson, David A, 1994. "Improving Settlement Devices: Rule 68 and Beyond," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(1), pages 225-246, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jean O. Lanjouw & Josh Lerner, 1996. "Preliminary Injunctive Relief: Theory and Evidence from Patent Litigation," NBER Working Papers 5689, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Steven Shavell, 2003. "Economic Analysis of Litigation and the Legal Process," NBER Working Papers 9697, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • K40 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - General
    • K41 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Litigation Process

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