Judicial Expenditures and Litigation Access: Evidence from Auto Injuries

37 Pages Posted: 6 Jan 2010

See all articles by Paul S. Heaton

Paul S. Heaton

University of Pennsylvania Law School

Eric Helland

Claremont McKenna College - Robert Day School of Economics and Finance; RAND

Date Written: December 31, 2009

Abstract

Despite claims of a judicial funding crisis, there exists little direct evidence linking judicial budgets to court utilization. Using data on thousands of auto injuries covering a 15-year period, the authors measure the relationship between state-level court expenditures and the propensity of injured parties to pursue litigation. Controlling for state and plaintiff characteristics and accounting for the potential endogeneity of expenditures, they show that expenditures increase litigation access, with their preferred estimates indicating that a 10% budget increase increases litigation rates by 3%. Consistent with litigation models in which high litigation costs undermine the threat posture of plaintiffs, increases in court resources also augment payments to injured parties.

Keywords: judicial system, state budget, litigation

JEL Classification: K13, H72, K41

Suggested Citation

Heaton, Paul S. and Helland, Eric A., Judicial Expenditures and Litigation Access: Evidence from Auto Injuries (December 31, 2009). RAND Working Paper Series WR- 709-ICJ. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1531974 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1531974

Paul S. Heaton (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania Law School ( email )

3501 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.law.upenn.edu/cf/faculty/pheaton/

Eric A. Helland

Claremont McKenna College - Robert Day School of Economics and Finance ( email )

500 E. Ninth St.
Claremont, CA 91711-6420
United States
909-607-7275 (Phone)
909-621-8243 (Fax)

RAND ( email )

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