This paper focuses on pure economic disputes such as contract, real property and tort conflicts, in which the economic efficiency model is very accepted. In this limited scenario, the consensual resolution of disputes is always more efficient than decisions made by a third-party decision-maker, whether from a post-trial or pre-trial perspective.

Considering that lower transaction costs drive parties towards settlement, part II of this essay provides an overview of the American costs of legal disputes, framing several issues that might be determinative to settlements. Part III explores how two specific American procedural institutes – discovery and civil jury trial – contribute to settlements in the U.S. modern civil litigation. At the end, this paper shows that the high settlement rate observed in the American civil litigation is not an accident but a consequence of procedural tools and public policies that externalize an American predilection for settlements instead of trials.