The Role of Politics and Economics in Explaining Variation in Litigation Rates in the U.S. States
29 Pages Posted: 23 Nov 2010
Date Written: November 22, 2010
This article develops and empirically tests two theories of causes of variation in levels of litigation in the United States: that litigation rates are affected by political structure and economic strength. Fragmented political power results in less detailed legislation and a more powerful judiciary, which increases the demand for judicial action. Economic strength is positively associated with high rates of litigation, rather than stymied by it. This article tests these claims using state level civil filings data over 25 years, and finds both political and economic factors to be highly determinative of litigation rates.
Keywords: litigation, judges, economic growth, divided government
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