Bankrupt Apologies

26 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2013

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: December 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 uses experimental methods to examine 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 article expands examination of apologies to a legal setting in which there is no clear “victim” and to decisions of a neutral (nonvictim) decisionmaker. We find that judges' assessments of debtors were influenced by apologies. These assessments, in turn, affected judges' confirmation decisions.

Suggested Citation

Robbennolt, Jennifer K. and Lawless, Robert M., Bankrupt Apologies (December 2013). Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, Vol. 10, Issue 4, pp. 771-796, 2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2344527 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jels.12027

Jennifer K. Robbennolt (Contact Author)

University of Illinois College of Law ( email )

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

Robert M. Lawless

University of Illinois College of Law ( email )

504 E. Pennsylvania Avenue
Champaign, IL 61820
United States

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