Apologies result in better outcomes for wrongdoers in a variety of legal contexts. Previous research, however, has primarily addressed settings in which a clear victim receives the apology. This research uses experimental methods to examine the influence of apologies on a different kind of legal decision-the decision of a bankruptcy judge to confirm or not to confirm a proposed repayment plan. This article expands examination of apologies to a legal setting in which there is no clear "victim" and to decisions of a neutral (nonvictim) decisionmaker. We find that judges' assessments of debtors were influenced by apologies. These assessments, in turn, affected judges' confirmation decisions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)771-796
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Empirical Legal Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Law

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