Legal Change and the Social Value of Lawsuits
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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