Chilling Effects from Anti-SLAPP Laws

42 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2022

See all articles by Brandon Schaufele

Brandon Schaufele

University of Western Ontario - Richard Ivey School of Business

Date Written: March 7, 2022


Anti-SLAPP legislation has proliferated across the US and Canada. SLAPPs are ``strategic lawsuits against public participation", private claims whose objective is to chill opposition by limiting parties' ability to participate in public debate. SLAPPs involve a complementarity between a private harm, typically the tort of defamation, and an extra-judicial project, often a real estate development. This paper incorporates SLAPPS into a standard model of frivolous litigation, demonstrating that the economic implications of SLAPPs are narrower than frequently portrayed. The paper then applies a staggered adoption difference-in-differences research design to empirically estimate the chilling effects of anti-SLAPP laws on construction investment and new home starts in Canada. Results demonstrate that anti-SLAPP laws do chill construction investment by roughly $80 million per month within Canadian cities. New starts of single family homes also decline by 120 per month relative to a counterfactual scenario where anti-SLAPP laws do not exist.

Keywords: Anti-SLAPP laws, chilling effects, civil procedure, frivolous lawsuits, real estate development, tort

JEL Classification: K41, K15, R39

Suggested Citation

Schaufele, Brandon, Chilling Effects from Anti-SLAPP Laws (March 7, 2022). Available at SSRN: or

Brandon Schaufele (Contact Author)

University of Western Ontario - Richard Ivey School of Business ( email )

1151 Richmond Street North
London, Ontario N6A 3K7

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