Plaintiff Favoritism in Judicial Cost-Shifting Decisions

Keren Weinshall*, Ifat Taraboulos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Are judges inclined to favor plaintiffs over defendants? We analyze the rela-tionships between win rates and cost-shifting outcomes in the Israeli loser-pays regime. Though qualitative analysis of semistructured interviews with judges as-sures us that litigants are equal in the cost-shifting arena, quantitative analysis portrays evidence to the contrary: judges allocate more and higher costs in favor of prevailing plaintiffs than defendants. Results are replicated in three datasets: a sample of all civil cases, small claims between individuals, and claims with matching counterclaims. We discuss explanations for this implicit pro-plaintiff effect in cost-shifting and implications for a possible broader pro-plaintiff bias.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)156-189
Number of pages34
JournalJournal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Mohr Siebeck.


  • civil litigation
  • cost-shifting
  • judicial behavior
  • judicial bias


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