Kritzer on Complaining & Claiming

Herbert Kritzer has posted The Antecedents of Disputes: Complaining and Claiming on SSRN. The article is a compendium of empirical research into the “naming, blaming, and claiming” process that leads to disputes. (See Felstiner, Abel, and Sarat, The Emergence of Disputes: Naming, Blaming, Claiming . . .) It goes much deeper than the usual disputing pyramids we are all familiar with. In fact, it presents such a wealth of information with so many different methodologies, variables and possible interpretations that one despairs of drawing any useful conclusions. Kritzer simply presents the data—he does not really attempt to draw conclusions from it. Probably the most interesting conclusion comes from work Kritzer himself published a couple of years ago in the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, in which he found that rates of claims, disputes, resort to lawyers, and court action are quite similar across different countries for similar problem types. That is, the response to legal problems in Japan, the US, Australia, and Canada is very consistent within the categories of Torts, Consumer, L & T, Government/Insurance/Tax, and Neighbor disputes, but very different (in consistent ways) from category to category.

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