Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2003


Case selection model, Federal government litigation, Evaluating case outcomes, Empirical legal studies, Trial rates, Plaintiff win rates, Personal injury torts, Job discrimination


Applied Statistics | Civil Procedure | Litigation


We develop a model of the plaintiff's decision to file a lawsuit that has implications for how differences between the federal government and private litigants translate into differences in trial rates and plaintiff win rates at trial. Our case selection model generates a set of predictions for relative trial rates and plaintiff win rates, depending on the type of case and whether the government is defendant or plaintiff. To test the model, we use data on about 474,000 cases filed in federal district court between 1979 and 1994 in the areas of personal injury and job discrimination, in which the federal government and private parties work under roughly similar legal rules. We find broad support for the predictions of the model.

Publication Citation

Theodore Eisenberg & Henry Farber, "The Government as Litigant: Further Tests of the Case Selection Model", 5 American Law and Economics Review (2003)