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Information Escrows (with Cait Unkovic), 111 Michigan Law Review 145 (2012)


A variety of information escrows—including allegation escrows, suspicion

escrows, and shared-interest escrows—hold the promise of reducing the

first-mover disadvantage that can deter people with socially valuable private

information from disclosing that information to others. Information

escrows allow people to transmit sensitive information to a trusted

intermediary, an escrow agent, who only forwards the information under

prespecified conditions. For example, an allegation escrow for sexual harassment

might allow a victim to place a private complaint into escrow with

instructions that the complaint be lodged with the proper authorities only

if the escrow agent receives at least one additional allegation against the

same individual. We assess the benefits and costs of allegation escrows and

discuss how they might be applied to a variety of claims, including sexual

harassment, date rape, adultery, and corporate and public whistleblowing.

We also show how analogous shared-interest escrows might be

used in workplace dating and adoption contexts to facilitate the discovery

of parties’ mutual interest when unintermediated expressions of interest

might themselves be harassing.

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