The John M. Olin Center

Paper Abstract

874. Kathryn E. Spier & J.J. Prescott, Contracting on Litigation, 12/2018; forthcoming in RAND Journal of Economics.

Abstract: Two risk-averse litigants with different subjective beliefs negotiate in the shadow of a pending trial. Through contingent contracts, the litigants can mitigate risk and/or speculate on the trial outcome. Contingent contracting decreases the settlement rate and increases the volume and costs of litigation. These contingent contracts mimic the services provided by third-party investors, including litigation funders and insurance companies. The litigants (weakly) prefer to contract with risk-neutral third parties when the capital market is transaction-cost free. However, contracting with third parties further decreases the settlement rate, increases the costs of litigation, and may increase the aggregate cost of risk bearing.

874: revision