Bankrupt Apologies

29 Pages Posted: 30 Jan 2013 Last revised: 22 Feb 2023

See all articles by Jennifer K. Robbennolt

Jennifer K. Robbennolt

University of Illinois College of Law

Robert M. Lawless

University of Illinois College of Law

Date Written: January 29, 2013

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Robbennolt, Jennifer K. and Lawless, Robert M., Bankrupt Apologies (January 29, 2013). Illinois Program in Law, Behavior and Social Science Paper No. LBSS13-20, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2208811 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2208811

Jennifer K. Robbennolt

University of Illinois College of Law ( email )

504 E. Pennsylvania Avenue
Champaign, IL 61820
United States
217-333-6623 (Phone)

Robert M. Lawless (Contact Author)

University of Illinois College of Law ( email )

504 E. Pennsylvania Avenue
Champaign, IL 61820
United States

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