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Liability Rules under Evidentiary Uncertainty

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  • Claude Fluet

Abstract

I consider the efficiency of liability rules when courts obtain imperfect information about precautionary behavior. I ask what tort rules are consistent with socially efficient precautions, what informational requirements the evidence about the parties' behavior must satisfy, what decision rules courts should apply when faced with imperfectly informative evidence, whether these decision rules can be formulated in terms of the legal concept of standard of proof, and whether some general characterization of the efficient standard can be given. I show that court judgments provide appropriate incentives to exert care if they signal that the party prevailing at trial most likely exerted due care, neither more nor less.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CIRPEE in its series Cahiers de recherche with number 0606.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:lvl:lacicr:0606

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Keywords: Basket Tort; negligence; moral hazard; imperfect information; standard of proof;

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References

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  1. Dominique Demougin & Claude Fluet, 2002. "Preponderance of Evidence," CESifo Working Paper Series 725, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Paul R. Milgrom & John Roberts, 1985. "Relying on the Information of Interested Parties," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 749, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  3. Claude Fluet, 2003. "Enforcing Contracts: Should Courts Seek the Truth?," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 159(1), pages 49-, March.
  4. Curran, Christopher, 1992. "The spread of the comparative negligence rule in the United States," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 317-332, September.
  5. Antonio Bernardo & Eric L. Talley & Ivo Welch, 1999. "A Theory of Legal Presumptions," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm118, Yale School of Management.
  6. Steven Shavell, 2003. "Economic Analysis of Accident Law," NBER Working Papers 9694, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Hay, Bruce L & Spier, Kathryn E, 1997. "Burdens of Proof in Civil Litigation: An Economic Perspective," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(2), pages 413-31, June.
  8. Demougin, Dominique & Fluet, Claude, 2001. "Monitoring versus incentives," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(9), pages 1741-1764, October.
  9. Kaplow, Louis & Shavell, Steven, 1994. "Accuracy in the Determination of Liability," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 37(1), pages 1-15, April.
  10. Schweizer, Urs, 2005. "Law and Economics of Obligations," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 209-228, June.
  11. Kessler, Daniel & McClellan, Mark, 1996. "Do Doctors Practice Defensive Medicine?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(2), pages 353-90, May.
  12. Paul R. Milgrom, 1981. "Good News and Bad News: Representation Theorems and Applications," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 12(2), pages 380-391, Autumn.
  13. Daughety, Andrew F & Reinganum, Jennifer F, 2000. "On the Economics of Trials: Adversarial Process, Evidence, and Equilibrium Bias," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(2), pages 365-94, October.
  14. 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.
  15. P. A. Diamond, 1973. "Single Activity Accidents," Working papers 113, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  16. Claude Fluet & Dominique Demougin, 2001. "Ranking of information systems in agency models: an integral condition," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 17(2), pages 489-496.
  17. Polinsky, A Mitchell & Shavell, Steven, 1989. "Legal Error, Litigation, and the Incentive to Obey the Law," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(1), pages 99-108, Spring.
  18. Hylton, Keith N, 1990. "Costly Litigation and Legal Error under Negligence," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(2), pages 433-52, Fall.
  19. Shavell, Steven, 2007. "Liability for Accidents," Handbook of Law and Economics, Elsevier.
  20. Daniel L. Rubinfeld & David E.M. Sappington, 1987. "Efficient Awards and Standards of Proof in Judicial Proceedings," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 18(2), pages 308-315, Summer.
  21. Claude Fluet, 1998. "Régulation des risques et insolvabilité: le rôle de la responsabilité pour faute en information imparfaite," Cahiers de recherche du Département des sciences économiques, UQAM 9802, Université du Québec à Montréal, Département des sciences économiques.
  22. Sanchirico, Chris William, 1997. "The burden of proof in civil litigation: A simple model of mechanism design," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 431-447, September.
  23. Kim, Son Ku, 1995. "Efficiency of an Information System in an Agency Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(1), pages 89-102, January.
  24. Aaron S. Edlin., 1993. "Efficient Standards of Due Care: Should Courts Find More Parties Negligent Under Comparative Negligence?," Economics Working Papers 93-218, University of California at Berkeley.
  25. Dominique Demougin & Claude Fluet, 2005. "Deterrence versus Judicial Error: A Comparative View of Standards of Proof," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 161(2), pages 193-, June.
  26. Daniel P. Kessler & Mark McClellan, 1996. "Do Doctors Practice Defensive Medicine?," NBER Working Papers 5466, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. Kolstad, Charles D & Ulen, Thomas S & Johnson, Gary V, 1990. "Ex Post Liability for Harm vs. Ex Ante Safety Regulation: Substitutes or Complements?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(4), pages 888-901, September.
  28. Schauer, Frederick & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1996. "On the Degree of Confidence for Adverse Decisions," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25(1), pages 27-52, January.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Marie-Cécile Fagart & Claude Fluet, 2009. "Liability insurance under the negligence rule," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 40(3), pages 486-508.
  2. Julien Jacob, 2011. "Innovation and diffusion in risky industries under liability law: the case of “double-impact” innovations," Working Papers of BETA 2011-24, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
  3. Boyer, Marcel & Porrini, Donatella, 2011. "The impact of court errors on liability sharing and safety regulation for environmental/industrial accidents," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 21-29, March.

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