NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Lawyers as Agents of the Devil in a Prisoner's Dilemma Game

Orley Ashenfelter, David Bloom

NBER Working Paper No. 4447
Issued in September 1993
NBER Program(s):   LS

The goal of this paper is to explore the possibility that the costs and benefits of legal representation are structured so that each individual party seeks legal representation in the hope of exploiting the other party, while knowing full well that failing to do so will open up the possibility .of being exploited. The first part of the paper shows how the structure of the incentives faced by the parties may be estimated, and the second describes the results of empirical tests in several different settings. The empirical results strongly suggest that the parties do face "prisoner's dilemma" incentives, although no attempt is made to determine whether the parties respond to these interviews.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w4447

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