The John M. Olin Center

Paper Abstract

874. Kathryn E. Spier & J.J. Prescott, Contracting on Litigation, 09/2016.

Abstract: Two risk-averse parties with different subjective beliefs negotiate in the shadow of a pending trial. Through contingent contracts, the parties can mitigate risk and/or speculate on the outcome. These contracts mimic the services provided by third-party investors, including litigation funders and insurance companies. The two parties (weakly) prefer to contract with the external capital market when third-party investors are risk neutral, litigation costs are exogenous, and the market is transaction-cost free. However, contracting with third parties increases the volume of litigation, the level of litigation spending, and the aggregate cost of risk bearing. In this sense, third-party involvement in litigation reduces social welfare.

874: PDF