To Sue or Not to Sue: How Afghan Merchants Strategically Choose to Use or Avoid Courts

Dr. Haroun Rahimi

This article explores how and why Afghan merchants choose to use courts or informal dispute resolution methods. It goes beyond the common corruption and inefficiency arguments, which maintain that Afghans do not use courts because they are corrupt and inefficient. It leverages rich, original data on variation of dispute resolution practices across provinces and types of disputes to gain insights into Afghan merchants’ dispute resolution decisions. In so doing, I reveal a more complex picture of commercial dispute resolution in Afghanistan. In this article, I demonstrate that Afghan merchants do choose courts when courts enforce the parties’ expectations and the courts’ judgments are necessary and effective. Moreover, while Afghan merchants do prefer informal dispute resolution methods, they do so because informal methods hold important advantages over courts in the context of Afghanistan where the formal property rights system is a failure, and the business climate is highly volatile.

Published online by Cambridge University Press: 12 November 2019

Please click here to view it online!

Haroun Rahimi


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