McEwen and Maiman (1986) have disagreed with my claim that the case characteristic of admitted liability explains more variability in dispute outcome and compliance than whether the case was resolved through a mediation or adjudication forum. Those authors reanalyzed some of my data from an Ontario small claims court and concluded that forum type is the stronger variable. I take issue with them on a number of conceptual and methodological points. In my own reanalysis of the Ontario data I am able to demonstrate statistically that admitted liability is the stronger predictor of outcomes. I also discuss why this should be so and raise some questions about compliance. Whether we can generalize to McEwen and Maiman's data from Maine courts is a matter of speculation, but I am inclined to infer that we can. Our debate raises important issues in the assessment of dispute resolution.
Neil Vidmar, Assessing the Effects of Case Characteristics and Settlement Forums on Dispute Outcomes and Compliance, 21 Law & Society Review 155-164 (1987)