Decoupling Liability: Optimal Incentives for Care and Litigation
AbstractA "decoupled" liability system is one in which the award to the plaintiff differs from the payment by the defendant. The optimal system of decoupling makes the defendant's payment as high as possible. Such a policy allows the award to the plaintiff to be lowered, thereby reducing the plaintiff's incentive to sue -- and hence litigation costs -- without sacrificing the defendant's incentive to exercise care. The optimal award to the plaintiff may be less than or greater than the optimal payment by the defendant. The possibility of an out-of-court settlement does not qualitatively affect these results. If the settlement can be monitored, it may be desirable to decouple it as well.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 3634.
Date of creation: Feb 1991
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Rand Journal of Economics, Vol 44, No. 4, pp. 562-570, (Winter 1991).
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Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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Other versions of this item:
- A. Mitchell Polinsky & Yeon-Koo Che, 1991. "Decoupling Liability: Optimal Incentives for Care and Litigation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(4), pages 562-570, Winter.
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