29 Pages Posted: 30 Jan 2013 Last revised: 13 Feb 2013
Date Written: January 29, 2013
Apologies result in better outcomes for wrongdoers in a variety of legal contexts. Previous research, however, has primarily addressed settings in which a clear victim receives the apology. This research examines the influence of apologies on a different kind of legal decision — the decision of a bankruptcy judge to confirm or not to confirm a proposed repayment plan. This expands examination of apologies to a legal setting in which there is no clear 'victim' and to decisions of a neutral (non-victim) decision maker. We find that judges’ assessments of debtors were influenced by apologies. These assessments, in turn, affected judges’ confirmation decisions.
Keywords: apology, bankruptcy, judicial decision making, law & psychology
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