European Journal of Law and Economics

, Volume 47, Issue 1, pp 57–88 | Cite as

Case selection and judicial decision-making: evidence from French labor courts

  • Claudine Desrieux
  • Romain Espinosa


Using a database on French labor courts between 1998 and 2012, we investigate case selection and judicial decision-making. In France, judges are elected at the labor court level on lists proposed by unions, and litigants can first try to settle their case before the judicial hearing. We show that the ideological composition of the court indirectly impacts the settlement behavior of the parties but has no influence on the decision made in court. In addition, parties have self-fulfilling behavior and adapt to institutional rules. When they anticipate long judicial procedures at court, they settle more frequently and only require judicial hearings for complex cases. The duration to decide these complex cases is longer, explaining why they observe (and build their anticipation on) long case duration. Our empirical strategy uses probit, ordered probit and triprobit estimations to control for case selection.


Settlement Case duration Judicial proceedings Labor courts Unions 

JEL Classification

K31 K41 



The authors would like to thank two anonymous referees and Claude Fluet, Nuno Garoupa, Bruno Deffains, Daniel Klerman, Mathieu Lefebvre, Cécile Bourreau-Dubois, Marc Ferracci, Roberto Galbiati and Samuel Ferey for their insightful comments, participants at the seminars in CRED-Paris II, ERUDITE-Paris Est, BETA-Lorraine University and Columbia University, as well as participants to the 3rd International Workshop on Economic Analysis of Litigation, the 32nd Conference of the Journées de Microéconomie Appliquée, the 64th annual Conference of the Association Française de Science Économique, and the 31st annual conference of the European Association of Law and Economics. We are also grateful to two anonymous referees, whose comments greatly contributed to the final version of this work.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (pdf 282 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CRED - Université Paris IIParisFrance
  2. 2.CNRS, CREM - Université Rennes 1RennesFrance

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