Comparative Law and Economics
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Comparative Law and Economics

Edited by Theodore Eisenberg and Giovanni B. Ramello

Contemporary law and economics has greatly expanded its scope of inquiry as well as its sphere of influence. The extension to many idiosyncratic topics and issues that sometime lie outside the traditional domain of the discipline have fostered the emergence of a new consciousness better grasped by a comparative approach. The original contributions to this Research Handbook provide a glimpse of the new perspectives that enrich the law and economics methodology.
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Chapter 16: Comparative judicial efficiency: Examining case disposition in five countries’ courts of last resort

Anthony Kreis, John Szmer and Robert K. Christensen


Ideally, decisions by governmental officials should maximize efficiency. In other words, they should reflect an equilibrium point that tries to maximize the quality of the outcome while minimizing costs and disposition times. While all of these aspects of efficiency are important, we focus primarily on the latter for a variety of reasons. For example, the swift administration of fair and equitable justice is a hallmark of good governance. As the institutions charged with impartially meting out justice, courts, and the judges who comprise them, have an awesome duty. It is for this reason that law and courts have drawn the interest of scholarly research assessing the extent to which a wide array of factors might impact the quality of judicial decisions. In the context of American appellate courts, scholars have conducted in-depth analyses to measure judicial quality and effectiveness with a wide array of metrics including mixed-outcome decisions (Lindquist, Haire, and Songer, 2007); issue agenda (Songer, Sheehan, and Haire, 2000); party advantage (Clermont and Eisenberg, 2002); the impact of ideology (Hettinger, Lindquist, and Martinek, 2004) and presidential appointment (Giles, Hettinger, and Peppers, 2001); precedent (Cross, 2007); statutes (Randazzo, Waterman, and Fine, 2006); litigant resources (Songer, Sheehan, and Haire, 1999); and judge gender, race (Collins and Moyer, 2008), and tenure (Kaheny, Haire, and Benesh, 2008).

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