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Do Exposure Suits Produce a "Race to File"? An Economic Analysis of a Tort for Risk

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  • Thomas J. Miceli

    ()
    (University of Connecticut, Storrs)

  • Kathleen Segerson

    ()
    (University of Connecticut, Storrs)

Abstract

Conventional tort law does not allow exposure victims to seek compensation until they develop symptoms of illness. Because this may bar recovery if the injurer is judgment proof, some have advocated allowing victims to sue at exposure. However, critics charge that such a tort for risk would create a ``race to file.'' We show that a race may or may not occur in equilibrium, and that when it does occur, not all victims choose to file even if bankruptcy is an inevitable result. We examine the consequences of the possible equilibria on compensation of victims, litigation costs, and injurer care.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by The RAND Corporation in its journal RAND Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 36 (2005)
Issue (Month): 3 (Autumn)
Pages: 613-627

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Handle: RePEc:rje:randje:v:36:y:2005:3:p:613-627

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  1. Rose-Ackerman, Susan, 1989. "Dikes, Dams, and Vicious Hogs: Entitlement and Efficiency in Tort Law," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(1), pages 25-50, January.
  2. T. Randolph Beard, 1990. "Bankruptcy and Care Choice," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(4), pages 626-634, Winter.
  3. Deneckere,R. & Peck,J., 1998. "Demand uncertainty, endogenous timing and costly waiting : jumping the gun in competitive markets," Working papers, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems 22, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.
  4. Kathryn E. Spier, 2002. "Settlement with Multiple Plaintiffs: The Role of Insolvency," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(2), pages 295-323, October.
  5. Diamond, Douglas W & Dybvig, Philip H, 1983. "Bank Runs, Deposit Insurance, and Liquidity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 91(3), pages 401-19, June.
  6. Fischer, Michael J, 1996. "Union Carbide's Bhopal Incident: A Retrospective," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, Springer, vol. 12(2-3), pages 257-69, May.
  7. Shavell, S., 1986. "The judgment proof problem," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 45-58, June.
  8. Ringleb, Al H & Wiggins, Steven N, 1990. "Liability and Large-Scale, Long-term Hazards," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(3), pages 574-95, June.
  9. Thomas J. Miceli & Kathleen Segerson, 2004. "A Tort for Risk and Endogenous Bankruptcy," Working papers, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics 2004-24, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  10. Shavell, Steven, 1985. "Uncertainty over Causation and the Determination of Civil Liability," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(3), pages 587-609, October.
  11. Bruce A. Larson, 1996. "Environmental Policy Based on Strict Liability: Implications of Uncertainty and Bankruptcy," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 72(1), pages 33-42.
  12. Schwartz, Alan, 1993. "Bankruptcy Workouts and Debt Contracts," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(1), pages 595-632, April.
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