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American Economic Review: Vol. 92 No. 3 (June 2002)


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Litigation Costs and Returns to Experience

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Oyer, Paul, and Scott Schaefer. 2002. "Litigation Costs and Returns to Experience ." American Economic Review, 92(3): 683-705.

DOI: 10.1257/00028280260136318


We develop a model linking maximum damage awards available to plaintiffs in wrongful termination lawsuits, workers' propensity to sue as a function of experience, and returns to experience. Using Equal Employment Opportunity Commission data on protected-worker discrimination complaints and labor-market data from the Current Population Survey, we examine how returns to experience among protected workers changed around the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1991. We show that employers' reactions to employment protections may induce redistributive effects. Furthermore, these effects operate not merely across groups of differing protected status, but also within groups of identical protected status. (JEL D21, J31, J71, K31)

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Oyer, Paul (Graduate School of Business, Stanford University, 518 Memorial Way, Stanford CA 94305)
Schaefer, Scott (Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, 2001 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208)

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