Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Backlogs and litigation rates: Testing congestion equilibrium across European judiciaries
Authors: BIELEN, Samantha 
Issue Date: 2017
Source: International review of law and economics, 53, p. 9-22
Abstract: To address the problem of court backlogs, policymakers in many countries have been pursuing reforms to reduce case disposition times and the demand for litigation. Yet Priest’s (1989) congestion-equilibrium theory states that reforms aimed at reducing court delays are offset by an increased tendency to litigate. To test the congestion-equilibrium hypothesis, we use biennial panel data from 36 European countries over the period 2006–2012. Specifically, we estimate (i) a repeated cross-section model using conventional (pooled) OLS, (ii) a standard (static) random-effects panel data model, and (iii) a (static) random effects model using the new method of unconditional quantile regression (UQR) to examine the countrylevel relationship between litigation rates and court backlogs (measured by the number of pending cases per judge in each country). In accordance with the congestion equilibrium hypothesis, the UQR estimates suggest a negative impact of court backlogs on litigation rates but only in highly litigious countries, insofar as the latter experience a high degree of judicial independence. This shows the need for custom-tailored policy approaches to tackling court delay based on countries’ existing litigation rates.
Notes: Bielen, S (reprint author), Hasselt Univ, Fac Appl Econ, Martelarenlaan 42, B-3500 Hasselt, Belgium,;;;
Keywords: congestion equilibrium; court backlog; litigation; judicial independence; unconditional quantile regression
Document URI:
ISSN: 0144-8188
e-ISSN: 1873-6394
DOI: 10.1016/j.irle.2017.09.002
ISI #: 000428482800002
Category: A1
Type: Journal Contribution
Validations: ecoom 2019
Appears in Collections:Research publications

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Court Backlogs and Litigation Rates v3.pdfPeer-reviewed author version710.94 kBAdobe PDFView/Open
  Restricted Access
Published version2.54 MBAdobe PDFView/Open    Request a copy
Show full item record


checked on Sep 3, 2020

Page view(s)

checked on May 25, 2022


checked on May 25, 2022

Google ScholarTM



Items in DSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.