Faculty Author Type

Current Faculty [Wei Cui]

Published In

Review of Law and Economics

Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date



selection theory; Priest and Klein; administrative litigation; civil law v. common law; Chinese law; authoritarian legal systems


We test the relevance of the selection theory of litigation in a contemporary, civil law setting, using Chinese judicial data that span 25 years regarding lawsuits against government agencies. Civil law systems may be characterized by lower costs of litigation and lower rates of settlement than the U.S. legal system, and therefore the presence of selection effects cannot be assumed. We show that selection effects are indeed manifest in Chinese administrative litigation, and suggest that this may be explained by hidden or intangible litigation costs. Our test for selection effects builds on the approach of previous U.S. studies and potentially allows the identification of selection effects to help improve inferences from decided cases. Finally, we examine patterns of settlement and plaintiff wins in pre-litigation administrative appeals in China, and do not find sufficient evidence for selection effects in this process. This could potentially be explained if most appellees pursuing administrative appeals do not intend to litigate.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.