Do small-claims class actions deter corporate illegality?

That's the question addressed by law professor Linda Simard in her article A View from Within the Fortune 500: An Empirical Study of Negative Value Class Actions and Deterrence. Here is the abstract:

paper takes a look inside the Fortune 500 to analyze the deterrent
effect of negative value class actions. The study focuses on the
relationship between litigation maturity and deterrence by testing three
inter-related hypotheses: (1) Future liability is easier to anticipate
when there is a well-developed record of the factual and legal issues
from previous litigation than when there is no track record from
previous litigation; (2) Corporations who have been held liable for
particular conduct will successfully change their conduct to avoid
future litigation regarding similar conduct; (3) Corporations who are
informed about lawsuits filed against their competitors and who rely
upon this information in making their own business decisions will
successfully change their conduct to avoid subsequent similar
litigation. The study presents compelling evidence to advance
our understanding of deterrence and to answer the question that has
plagued negative value class actions for nearly half a century: when,
if ever, does the social utility of these actions outweigh their cost?

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