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Party Capability versus Court Preference: Why Do the "Haves" Come Out Ahead?—An Empirical Lesson from the Taiwan Supreme Court

Kong-Pin Chen, Kuo-Chang Huang and Chang-Ching Lin

The Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, 2015, vol. 31, issue 1, 93-126

Abstract: Using civil appeals data on Taiwan’s Supreme Court (TSC), this article revisits the well-known question of whether the "haves" come out ahead in litigations. We first show that the higher-status litigants indeed mobilized stronger legal representation and obtained more victories than the lower-status litigants. However, we submit that that the party capability theory cannot fully explain the advantages the "haves" enjoyed over the "have-nots." Further analysis reveals that the TSC’s exercise of discretionary jurisdiction also played an important role by strongly favoring the governmental litigants at the agenda-setting stage. We argue that the TSC’s preference in this regard was induced by the TSC judges’ self-identification as part of government. In conclusion, our empirical investigation shows that both party capability and court preference contribute to influence the outcomes of appeals. (JEL K4)

Date: 2015
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Handle: RePEc:oup:jleorg:v:31:y:2015:i:1:p:93-126.