NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
loading...

'To Have and Have Not': Are Rich Litigious Plaintiffs Favored in Court?

B. Zorina Khan

NBER Working Paper No. 20945
Issued in February 2015
NBER Program(s):The Program on the Development of the American Economy, The Development Economics Program, The Law and Economics Program, The Political Economy Program

A long-standing debate centers on the role of the “Haves” and the “Have Nots” in litigation. It is often suggested that wealthier plaintiffs are more likely to be repeat players, who tend to prevail in disputes before the courts. Do wealthy repeat players indeed capture courts and succeed in shaping legal rules regardless of the intent of policy makers? This paper employs a unique historical data set that allows a direct test of these hypotheses, including information on the wealth of participants in civil district courts, their occupations, and the total number of lawsuits filed by each litigant over a long period. The results show that repeat players indeed tended to be wealthier, in occupations that likely benefited from creating a reputation for uncooperative litigation strategies. However, outcomes in court were independent of wealth, and related more to the type of case. Far from being under the sway of the “Haves,” early courts functioned as an effective enforcement mechanism for extensive markets in debt, that likely promoted economic growth during this period.

download in pdf format
   (113 K)

email paper

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w20945

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded* these:
Jeong, Kim, and Manovskii w20457 The Price of Experience
Bai, Hou, Kung, and Zhang w21016 The CAPM Strikes Back? An Investment Model with Disasters
Constantinides and Lian w21161 The Supply and Demand of S&P 500 Put Options
Novy-Marx and Velikov w20721 A Taxonomy of Anomalies and their Trading Costs
Vegh and Vuletin w20675 The Road to Redemption: Policy Response to Crises in Latin America
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Themes
Data
People
About

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us