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Playing against an Apparent Opponent: Incentives for Care, Litigation, and Damage Caps under Self-Serving Bias

This paper presents a strategic model of incentives for care and litigation under asymmetric information and self-serving bias, and studies the effects of damage caps. We contribute to the behavioral economics literature by generalizing the perfect Bayesian equilibrium concept to environments with biased litigants. Our main findings are as follows. First, our results suggest that self-serving bias might be welfare-reducing. The negative impact of this cognitive bias on social welfare is explained by the reduction in the level of care, and the increase in the likelihood of disputes. We also find that self-serving bias helps litigants commit to tough negotiation positions. However, it is economically self-defeating for the informed plaintiff. Second, our findings indicate that caps on non-economic damages might reduce the level of care. Importantly, we find that the positive effect of damage caps on lowering the likelihood of disputes, commonly attributed to caps, does not necessarily hold in environments with biased litigants: Caps might induce higher likelihood of disputes. Our findings are aligned with empirical and experimental evidence.

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File URL: http://www.economics.ualberta.ca/~/media/economics/FacultyAndStaff/WPs/WP2012-09-Landeo-Nikitin-Izmalkov
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Paper provided by University of Alberta, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 2012-9.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: 12 Apr 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ris:albaec:2012_009
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  1. Bruno Deffains & Eric Langlais, 2009. "Legal Interpretative Process and Litigants’Cognitive Biases," EconomiX Working Papers 2009-8, University of Paris West - Nanterre la Défense, EconomiX.
  2. Claudia M. Landeo & Maxim Nikitin, 2006. "Split-Award Tort Reform, Firm's Level of Care, and Litigation Outcomes," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 162(4), pages 571-600, December.
  3. Kennan, John & Wilson, Robert, 1993. "Bargaining with Private Information," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(1), pages 45-104, March.
  4. Avraham, Ronen & Bustos, Álvaro, 2010. "The unexpected effects of caps on non-economic damages," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 291-305, December.
  5. Claudia M. Landeo & Maxim Nikitin & Scott Baker, 2007. "Deterrence, Lawsuits, and Litigation Outcomes Under Court Errors," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(1), pages 57-97, April.
  6. Brooks, Richard & Landeo, Claudia & Spier, Kathryn, 2009. "Trigger Happy or Gun Shy? Dissolving Common-Value Partnerships with Texas Shootouts," Working Papers 2009-1, University of Alberta, Department of Economics, revised 01 Jul 2013.
  7. Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 1991. "Game Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061414, June.
  8. Landeo, Claudia M., 2009. "Cognitive coherence and tort reform," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 30(6), pages 898-912, December.
  9. Muhamet Yildiz, 2003. "Bargaining without a Common Prior-An Immediate Agreement Theorem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(3), pages 793-811, 05.
  10. Landeo, Claudia M. & Nikitin, Maxim & Babcock, Linda, 2007. "Split-awards and disputes: An experimental study of a strategic model of litigation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 553-572, July.
  11. Yasutora Watanabe, 2005. "Learning and Bargaining in Dispute Resolution: Theory and Evidence from Medical Malpractice Litigation," 2005 Meeting Papers 440, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  12. Farmer, Amy & Pecorino, Paul, 2002. "Pretrial bargaining with self-serving bias and asymmetric information," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 163-176, June.
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