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Risk Aversion, Liability Rules, and Safety

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  • Zivin, Joshua Graff
  • Just, Richard E.
  • Zilberman, David

Abstract

This paper investigates the performance of liability rules in two-party stochastic externality problems where negotiations are feasible and side payments are based on the realized level of externalities. Results show that an increase in polluter liability does not necessarily increase safety or efficiency in cases where the polluter is risk neutral. Complete polluter liability is found to yield Pareto optimality. When either party is risk averse, an increase in polluter liability may sometimes reduce safety and efficiency. If the polluter is risk neutral and the victim is risk averse, Pareto optimality is only achieved by assigning full liability on the polluter, i.e. giving the victim complete property rights to a clean environment. If the polluter is risk averse and the victim is risk neutral, no level of polluter liability is optimal. In this case, optimality can only be achieved through a contract on abatement activities, such that the risk-averse polluter receives a guaranteed payment regardless of the stochastic outcome.

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal International Review of Law and Economics.

Volume (Year): 25 (2005)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
Pages: 604-623

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Handle: RePEc:eee:irlaec:v:25:y:2005:i:4:p:604-623

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  1. Privileggi, Fabio & Marchese, Carla & Cassone, Alberto, 2001. "Agent's liability versus principal's liability when attitudes toward risk differ," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 181-195, June.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Langlais, Eric, 2010. "Safety and the Allocation of Costs in Large Accidents," MPRA Paper 25710, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  2. Langlais, Eric, 2009. "les criminels aiment-ils le risque ?
    [Are criminals risk-seeking individulas ?]
    ," MPRA Paper 14892, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Dari-Mattiacci, Giuseppe & Langlais, Eric, 2012. "Social Wealth and Optimal Care," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 271-284.
  4. Langlais, Eric, 2006. "Criminals and risk attitude," MPRA Paper 1149, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 15 Sep 2006.

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