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The Government as Litigant: Further Tests of the Case Selection Model

Listed author(s):
  • Theodore Eisenberg
  • Henry S. Farber

We develop a model of the plaintiff's decision to file a law suit that has implications for how differences between the federal government and private litigants and litigation translate into differences in trial rates and plaintiff win rates at trial. Our case selection model generates a set of predictions for relative trial rates and plaintiff win rates depending on the type of case and whether the government is defendant or plaintiff. In order to test the model, we use data on about 350,000 cases filed in federal district court between 1979 and 1997 in the areas of personal injury and job discrimination where the federal government and private parties work under roughly similar legal rules. We find broad support for the predictions of the model.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7296.

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Date of creation: Aug 1999
Publication status: published as Eisenberg, Theodore and Henry Farber. "The Government as Litigant: Further Tests of the Case Selection Model." American Law and Economics Review 5, 1 (Spring 2003): 94-133.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7296
Note: LS
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  1. Farber, Henry S & Bazerman, Max H, 1987. "Why Is There Disagreement in Bargaining?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(2), pages 347-352, May.
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