Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Law Commons

Open Access. Powered by Scholars. Published by Universities.®

Series

SSRN

Columbia Law School

1999

Jurisprudence

Articles 1 - 1 of 1

Full-Text Articles in Law

A Theory Of Legal Presumptions, Antonio E. Bernardo, Eric L. Talley, Ivo Welch Jan 1999

A Theory Of Legal Presumptions, Antonio E. Bernardo, Eric L. Talley, Ivo Welch

Faculty Scholarship

This paper develops a theoretical account of presumptions, focusing on their capacity to mediate between costly litigation and ex ante incentives. We augment a standard moral hazard model with a redistributional litigation game in which a legal presumption parameterizes how a court "weighs" evidence offered by the opposing sides. Strong pro-defendant presumptions can foreclose lawsuits altogether, but also lead to shirking. Strong pro-plaintiff presumptions have the opposite effects. Moderate presumptions give rise to equilibria in which productive effort and suit occur probabilistically. The socially-optimal presumption trades off litigation costs against agency costs, and could be either strong or moderate, depending ...