The Selection Hypothesis and the Relationship between Trial and Plaintiff Victory

48 Pages Posted: 8 Jan 2008

See all articles by Joel Waldfogel

Joel Waldfogel

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Carlson School of Management; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Department of Economics

Date Written: October 1993

Abstract

The selection hypothesis of Priest and Klein explains the selection of cases for trial, from the underlying population of filed cases, based on the position of the legal standard, the degree of stake asymmetry, and the predictability of trial outcomes. This paper develops implications of the selection hypothesis for the relationship between trial rates and plaintiff win rates. We find strong evidence for the selection hypothesis in estimated relationships between trial rates and plaintiff win rates at trial across case types and judges. We then structurally estimate the model on judge data, yielding estimates of the model's major parameters (the decision standard, the degree of stake asymmetry, and the uncertainty parameter) for each of three major case types, contracts, property rights, and torts. We are able to infer that tried cases are unrepresentative of filed cases and that stakes are higher for plaintiffs in contract and property rights cases and higher for defendants in tort cases. Finally, we infer that the uncertainty surrounding case outcomes is higher for tort cases than for the others, supporting the view of tort system critics that legal standards in tort cases are not clearly understood.

Suggested Citation

Waldfogel, Joel, The Selection Hypothesis and the Relationship between Trial and Plaintiff Victory (October 1993). NBER Working Paper No. w4508. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=480262

Joel Waldfogel (Contact Author)

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Carlson School of Management ( email )

19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Department of Economics ( email )

271 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
27
Abstract Views
479
PlumX Metrics