Journal of Quantitative Criminology

, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 143–167

Appellate and trial court caseload growth: A pooled time-series-cross-section analysis

  • Carlisle E. MoodyJr.
  • Thomas B. Marvell


This is an econometric study of factors behind filing growth since 1970 in state trial courts and, especially, appellate courts. The model posits two categories of variables: those affecting the supply of disputes and those affecting the costbenefit considerations of potential litigants. The study uses a pooled time-seriescross-section design and a fixed-effects regression procedure. The overall conclusion is that factors determining the supply of disputes overwhelm other factors entered in the model. At the trial level, economic conditions 2 years earlier strongly affect civil filings, and crime rates for the current and prior year have moderate impacts on criminal filings. The output capacity of trial courts, measured by the number of judges, has a strong impact on appeals. Economic conditions and trial court filings influence civil appeals in later years, and prison commitments influence criminal appeals. The great majority of cost-benefit factors, such as simplification of appellate procedure and interest-rate differentials, showed little or no impact on appeals.

Key words

courts appeals economic change econometric methods pooled time series-cross section 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carlisle E. MoodyJr.
    • 1
  • Thomas B. Marvell
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsCollege of William and MaryWilliamsburg
  2. 2.Court Studies, Inc.Williamsburg

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