Optimal liability when the injurer's information about the victim's loss is imperfect
AbstractA central result in the economic theory of liability is that, if an injurer's liability equals the victim's loss, then either the rule of strict liability or the rule of negligence can induce the injurer to behave properly. However, for this result to hold, the injurer must know the victim's loss before the injurer decides whether to engage in the harmful activity and, g fortiori, before any harm has occurred. This paper reevaluates the rules of strict liability and negligence when the injurer's information is imperfect. Two questions are addressed: Under each rule, should the level of liability imposed on the injurer still equal the victim's loss? Are the rules of strict liability and negligence still equally desirable? With respect to the first question, it is demonstrated that the optimal level of liability generally is not equal to the victim's loss. With respect to the second question, it is shown that if the injurer's liability equals the victim's loss, then the two rules are equivalent, but if liability is set optimally under each rule, then strict liability generally induces the injurer to behave in a more appropriate way.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Elsevier in its journal International Review of Law and Economics.
Volume (Year): 7 (1987)
Issue (Month): 2 (December)
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/irle
Other versions of this item:
- A. Mitchell Polinsky, 1987. "Optimal Liability when the Injurer's Information about the Victim's Loss is Imperfect," NBER Working Papers 2174, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Landes, William M. & Posner, Richard A., 1981. "An economic theory of intentional torts," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(2), pages 127-154, December.
- Peter A. Diamond, 1974.
"Single Activity Accidents,"
The Journal of Legal Studies,
University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages 107-164, January.
- Craswell, Richard & Calfee, John E, 1986. "Deterrence and Uncertain Legal Standards," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 2(2), pages 279-303, Fall.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.