Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Sen, McCleskey, & Basuchoudhary on Civil Litigation on the Virginia Frontier, 1745-1755"

The latest issue of the Journal of Interdisciplinary History includes an article of interest: Tinni Sen, Turk McCleskey, and Atin Basuchoudhary, "When Good Little Debts Went Bad: Civil Litigation on the Virginia Frontier, 1745-1755." Here's the abstract:
The use of a multinomial logit model to analyze a hitherto unavailable dataset of 1,376 small-claims lawsuits in colonial Augusta County, Virginia, for information about debts, litigants, and procedures finds no evidence of prejudice in the legal system. The magistrates' consistently fair enforcement of legitimate contracts may have induced both plaintiffs and defendants to settle their disputes in court rather than in private. The evidence corroborates the view that by the mid-eighteenth century, Virginia's frontier judicial system was sufficiently impartial to encourage creditors to draw up efficient contracts even for small debts.
Subscribers to the journal may access full text here

Hat tip: Mike Widener