High-Powered Attorney Incentives: A Look at the New Indigent Defense System in South Carolina

28 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2015

See all articles by Benjamin Schwall

Benjamin Schwall

Clemson University, College of Business and Behavioral Science, John E. Walker Department of Economics, Students

Date Written: June 25, 2015

Abstract

This paper analyzes how attorneys respond to a change in payment structures. In November of 2012, the South Carolina Indigent Defense system underwent major changes. Included in these changes, attorneys would now be paid a flat fee instead of an hourly rate. This paper builds on Lazear's (2000) work which empirically studied how incentives affect worker behavior. Using case-level data provided by the South Carolina Commission on Indigent Defense, I analyze how this change affects the number of hours reported and how in-court behavior changes. I find that attorneys report about 30% less hours when paid a flat fee and they are about 20% less likely to go to court.

Keywords: Indigent Defense, High-Powered Incentive, Lawyers

JEL Classification: K40, J33

Suggested Citation

Schwall, Benjamin, High-Powered Attorney Incentives: A Look at the New Indigent Defense System in South Carolina (June 25, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2623202 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2623202

Benjamin Schwall (Contact Author)

Clemson University, College of Business and Behavioral Science, John E. Walker Department of Economics, Students ( email )

Clemson, SC 29634
United States
4147045085 (Phone)

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
99
Abstract Views
1,377
rank
271,430
PlumX Metrics