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``Predictable and Unpredictable Error in Tort Awards: The Effect of Plaintiff Self Selection and Signalling,''

  • Eric Rasmusen

    (Indiana University School of Business)

If a potential tort plaintiff can predict that the court will overestimate damages he is more likely to bring suit, but if the court is aware of this, it will adjust its awards accordingly. In general, court error implies that the court should moderate extreme awards whether they are high or low, because of regression towards the mean. Predictable error, however, tends to push the optimal adjustment downwards and unpredictable error pushes it upwards, because of plaintiff selection and signalling, respectively. The expectation of either kind of error leads plaintiffs to bring meritless suits.

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Law and Economics with number 9506003.

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Date of creation: 14 Jun 1995
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Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwple:9506003
Note: A 79KB LaTeX file. A postscript file is available on request from Erasmuse@Indiana.edu.
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://128.118.178.162

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  17. Polinsky, A Mitchell & Shavell, Steven, 1989. "Legal Error, Litigation, and the Incentive to Obey the Law," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(1), pages 99-108, Spring.
  18. Kaplow, Louis, 1994. "The Value of Accuracy in Adjudication: An Economic Analysis," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(1), pages 307-401, January.
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  20. Rosenberg, D. & Shavell, S., 1985. "A model in which suits are brought for their nuisance value," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 3-13, June.
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