This study investigates the significance of confidentiality and disclosure for medical malpractice litigation. Starting in the mid-1990s, seventeen states began posting information on a doctor's specific history of medical malpractice claims on state-run websites. The laws creating these sites altered the level of confidentiality that would accompany litigation and settlement. Taking into account the varying disclosure requirements across the states, we examine the impact of the altered levels of confidentiality on litigant behavior. We find evidence of two, non-exclusive effects of disclosure. First, we find evidence that defendants value confidentiality and are no longer willing to pay a confidentiality premium when websites disclose settlement outcomes. Second, we find evidence that website disclosure changes the composition of claims. Copyright 2010, Oxford University Press.
American Law and Economics Review is edited by Hon. Richard A. Posner
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