Understanding the Time to Court Case Resolution: a Competing Risks Analysis Using Belgian Data

Samantha Bielen (Hasselt University)
Peter Grajzl (Washington and Lee University)
Wim Marneffe (Hasselt University)

Abstract : Court delays are a frequent concern, yet what explains court case duration remains incompletely understood. We study the time to court case resolution by drawing on a detailed case-level dataset of civil suits filed at a major Belgian court. We utilize the competing risks regression framework to address the typically neglected heterogeneity in the modes of court case resolution and examine the role of a wide range of both time-invariant and time-varying covariates. Controlling for judge fixed effects, we find substantial disparities in the effect of party and case characteristics on the time to settlement versus trial judgment. Exploiting the de facto random assignment of cases to serving judges within the court's chambers, we further find that judge characteristics matter for time to trial judgment, but not for time to settlement. Modeling heterogeneity in the modes of court case resolution is therefore central to understanding of court case durations.

Technology Protectionism and the Patent System: Strategic Technologies in China

GaƩtan de Rassenfosse (EPFL)
Emilio Raiteri (EPFL)

Abstract : The national treatment principle, a centerpiece of many trade-related international treaties, mandates nondiscriminatory application of treaty provisions to nationals and foreigners. In international patent law treaties, the principle prevents countries from free-riding on foreign technologies, thereby preserving incentives for global innovations. Concerns about violation of the principle at the Chinese patent office have been voiced in business and policy circles, but there is little empirical evidence backing this claim. Using data on about half a million patent applications filed in China we find no, or only weak, evidence of anti-foreign bias in the issuance of patents overall. However, foreign applications in technology fields that are of strategic importance to China are four to seven percentage points less likely to be approved than local applications, all else equal. Given the importance of industrial policy in China and the country's strong focus on indigenous innovation and intellectual property, the empirical results provide a case of technology protectionism by means of the patent system.

The Effects of Racial Profiling, Taste-based Discrimination, and Enforcer Liability on Crime

Murat C. Mungan (George Mason University)

Abstract : The literature contains ambiguous findings as to whether statistical discrimination, e.g. in the form of racial profiling, causes a reduction in deterrence. These analyses, however, assume that enforcers' incentives are exogenously fixed. This article demonstrates that when the costs and benefits faced by officers in enforcing the law are endogenously determined, statistical discrimination as well as taste-based discrimination lead to an increase in criminal activity. Moreover, the negative effects of statistical discrimination on deterrence are more persistent than similar effects due to taste-based discrimination. This suggests, contrary to the impression created by the existing literature, that statistical discrimination is not only harmful, but, may be even more detrimental than taste-based discrimination. Thus, for purposes of maximizing deterrence, the recent focus in empirical research on identifying taste-based discrimination as opposed to statistical discrimination may be misplaced. A superior approach may be to identify whether any type of racial discrimination takes place in the enforcement of laws, and to provide enforcers with incentives to minimize the impact of their discriminatory behavior.