Title

Who Cares?

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2002

Abstract

Jim Cox and Randall Thomas have identified an interesting phenomenon in their contribution to this symposium: institutional investors seem to be systematically "leaving money on the table" in securities fraud class actions. For someone who approaches legal questions from an economic perspective, the initial response to this claim is disbelief. As the joke goes, economists do not bend over to pick up twenty-dollar bills on the street. The economist knows that the twenty dollars must be an illusion. In a world of rational actors, someone else already would have picked up that twenty-dollar bill, so the effort spent bending over would be a waste. But Cox and Thomas provide persuasive evidence that the overwhelming majority of institutional investors cannot be bothered to file claims that would allow them to recover their share of the settlement in securities class actions.


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