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Law Matters -- Less Than We Thought, Daniel M. Klerman, Holger Spamann Aug 2019

Law Matters -- Less Than We Thought, Daniel M. Klerman, Holger Spamann

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

In a pre-registered 2×2×2 factorial between-subject randomized lab experiment with 61 federal judges, we test if the law influences judicial decisions, if it does so more under a rule than under a standard, and how its influence compares to that of legally irrelevant sympathies. The judges were given realistic materials and a relatively long period of time (50 minutes) to decide a run-of-the-mill auto accident case. We find weak evidence for the law effect, stronger evidence that rules constrain more than standards, and no evidence of a sympathy effect. Unexpectedly, we find that judges were more likely to ...


Posner And Class Actions, Daniel M. Klerman Jan 2019

Posner And Class Actions, Daniel M. Klerman

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

The hallmark of Judge Posner’s class action decisions is rigorous review to ensure that aggregate litigation serves the best interests of class members and does not unduly pressure defendants to settle. Although he championed class actions, especially as a way to provide efficient justice in cases involving numerous small claims, Posner also recognized that, because of the agency problems that pervade class action litigation, ordinary adversary procedures were not sufficient to protect class members. As a result, the judge had to act as a fiduciary for the class, especially when approving settlements and fee awards. In addition, the colossal ...