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Determinants of civil litigation in Portugal

Publication Year 
2015
Abstract 
This article studies the evolution of the resort to civil justice in Portugal in the last two decades, particularly seeking to identify the main determinants of the litigation rate observed in the different regions, benefiting from a dataset with information by comarca. We conclude that the length of proceedings tends to reduce litigation and, therefore, there is evidence of rationing by waiting list in the access to justice. At the same time there is some evidence of demand inducement by lawyers. Socioeconomic characteristics as the illiteracy rate, purchasing power and the location of enterprises influence the level of litigation in the different regions of the country. Moreover there are significant spatial spillovers in the generation of litigation - not only the characteristics of the comarca itself, but also those of the neighbouring ones, play a relevant role.
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