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Legal Change and the Social Value of Lawsuits

  • Thomas J. Miceli

    (University of Connecticut)

This paper integrates the literatures on the social value of lawsuits, the evolution of the law, and judicial preferences to evaluate the hypothesis that the law evolves toward efficiency. The setting is a simple accident model with costly litigation where the efficient law minimizes the sum of accident plus litigation costs. In the steady state equilibrium, the distribution of legal rules is not necessarily efficient but instead depends on a combination of selective litigation, judicial bias, and precedent.

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File URL: http://web2.uconn.edu/economics/working/2008-34.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Connecticut, Department of Economics in its series Working papers with number 2008-34.

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Date of creation: Sep 2008
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Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2008-34
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Web page: http://www.econ.uconn.edu/

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  1. 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.
  2. Lucian Arye Bebchuk, 1984. "Litigation and Settlement under Imperfect Information," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(3), pages 404-415, Autumn.
  3. 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.
  4. Vincy Fon & Francesco Parisi & Ben Depoorter, 2005. "Litigation, Judicial Path-Dependence, and Legal Change," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 20(1), pages 43-56, July.
  5. Bebchuk, Lucian Arye, 1988. "Suing Solely to Extract a Settlement Offer," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(2), pages 437-50, June.
  6. Landes, William M, 1971. "An Economic Analysis of the Courts," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(1), pages 61-107, April.
  7. Fon, Vincy & Parisi, Francesco, 2003. " Litigation and the Evolution of Legal Remedies: A Dynamic Model," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 116(3-4), pages 419-33, September.
  8. Gennaioli, Nicola & Shleifer, Andrei, 2007. "The Evolution of Common Law," Scholarly Articles 3451305, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  9. Shavell, Steven, 1996. "Any Frequency of Plaintiff Victory at Trial Is Possible," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25(2), pages 493-501, June.
  10. Gennaioli, Nicola & Shleifer, Andrei, 2007. "Overruling and the instability of law," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 309-328, June.
  11. Keith N. Hylton, 2006. "Information, Litigation, and Common Law Evolution," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(1), pages 33-61.
  12. Shavell, Steven, 1999. "The level of litigation: private versus social optimality of suit and of settlement," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 99-115, March.
  13. Hylton, Keith N., 1990. "The influence of litigation costs on deterrence under strict liability and under negligence," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(2), pages 161-171, September.
  14. Miceli, Thomas J. & Cosgel, Metin M., 1994. "Reputation and judicial decision-making," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 31-51, January.
  15. Cohen, Mark A, 1991. "Explaining Judicial Behavior or What's "Unconstitutional" about the Sentencing Commission?," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(1), pages 183-99, Spring.
  16. Thomas J. Miceli, 2009. "Legal Change: Selective Litigation, Judicial Bias, and Precedent," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(1), pages 157-168, 01.
  17. Whitman, Douglas Glen, 2000. "Evolution of the Common Law and the Emergence of Compromise," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(2), pages 753-81, June.
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