Access to justice: An economic approach

J. Zhou

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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This Ph.D. thesis consists of a collection of four independent papers on economic analysis of access to justice. The research methodologies involve game theoretical and empirical analysis of litigation and settlement.

Chapter two investigates the institutional causes of delay in litigation. Using data from the Texas Department of Insurance Commercial Liability Insurance Closed Claim Report, Jun empirically models the determinants of litigation durations. The empirical analysis is structured by using a theoretic model. Comparative statics results are corroborated with the empirical estimates. Jun finds that longer delays in trial courts are associated with longer delays in out-of-court settlement, and that the legal reform devised to expedite settlements does not have an apparent effect.

Chapter three analyzes litigants’ decisions to invest in lawsuits. Jun constructs theoretic models where the litigants' investment choices reflect the beliefs that they hold about the investments and responses of their opponents. It was found that in an unevenly matched legal contest where the litigants are left with the freedom to decide who makes the first investment, the litigants will coordinate their moves to save legal costs. Without the freedom of coordination, aggregate legal costs are higher when the party with the first move has a cost advantage.

Chapter four analyzes what determines the incidence and magnitude of damage payments for noneconomic losses in medical malpractice insurance claims. Using data from the Texas Department of Insurance Commercial Liability Insurance Closed Claim Report, Jun finds that noneconomic damage awards are not totally random events. They vary, in predictable ways, with changes in the economic characteristics of the case.

Chapter five investigates the lawyer’s role in causing expensive litigation. Jun constructs a game theoretic model where a lawyer has more information than his client concerning the characteristics of a lawsuit. Jun shows that the plaintiff is more likely to sue if she is more pessimistic about winning damage in court and if litigation is more risky. Litigation is less likely to occur if the plaintiff receives legal aid.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Tilburg University
  • van Damme, Eric, Promotor
Award date14 Apr 2010
Place of PublicationTilburg
Print ISBNs9789056682514
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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