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The Hand Rule and United States v. Carroll Towing Co. Reconsidered

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Author Info

  • Allan M. Feldman
  • Jeonghyun Kim

Abstract

Judge Learned Hand's opinion in United States v. Carroll Towing Co. (1947) is canonized in the law-and-economics literature as the first use of cost-benefit analysis for determining negligence and assigning liability. This article revisits the case in which the Hand formula was born and examines whether Judge Hand's ruling in that case would provide correct incentives for efficient levels of precaution. We argue that the negligence test as used by Judge Hand is somewhat different from the Hand test as used by modern law-and-economics theorists. With a game theoretic analysis of the case, we show that Judge Hand's negligence test could in fact produce games with inefficient equilibria, or with liability determinations opposite Judge Hand's. Copyright 2005, Oxford University Press.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/aler/ahi017
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal American Law and Economics Review.

Volume (Year): 7 (2005)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 523-543

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Handle: RePEc:oup:amlawe:v:7:y:2005:i:2:p:523-543

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Cited by:
  1. Itai Ashlagi & Emin Karagozoglu & Bettina Klaus, 2008. "A Noncooperative Support for Equal Division in Estate Division Problems," Harvard Business School Working Papers 09-069, Harvard Business School.
  2. Allan M Feldman & Ram Singh, 2008. "Comparative Vigilance," Working Papers 2008-9, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  3. Kim, Jeonghyun & Feldman, Allan M., 2006. "Victim or injurer, small car or SUV: Tort liability rules under role-type uncertainty," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 455-477, December.

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