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Judicial Errors, Legal Standards and Innovative Activity

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Abstract

We analyze the effects of judicial errors on the innovative activity of firms. Successful research investment allows to take a new action that may be ex-post welfare enhancing or welfare decreasing (illegal). Deterrence in this setting works by affecting both the incentives to invest in research and the ex-post choice of the action (marginal deterrence). The two goals may contrast each other and their relative importance shapes the optimal policy. For increasing probabilities of social harm, the enforcer initially promotes research and disregards marginal deterrence: in this case no accuracy is chosen and the policy adopts first a per-se legality and then a (moderately enforced) per-se illegality rule. Conversely, for higher likelihood of social harm, the enforcer favors marginal deterrence eliciting the ex-post efficient actions at the cost of depressing firm’s investment: the optimal policy calls for positive .nes and improved accuracy, with a stronger effort to reduce type-I than type-II errors and the adoption of asymmetric protocols of investigation. Improved accuracy allows to discriminate between beneficial and harmful actions, an instance of effect-based legal standard.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy in its series CSEF Working Papers with number 196.

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Date of creation: 20 Feb 2008
Date of revision: 04 Jun 2010
Handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:196

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Keywords: norm design; innovative activity; enforcement; errors;

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  1. Giovanni Immordino & Marco Pagano & Michele Polo, 2006. "Norm Flexibility and Private Initiative," CSEF Working Papers 163, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy, revised 01 Nov 2006.
  2. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters, in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Gual, Jordi & Hellwig, Martin F. & Perrot, Anne & Polo, Michele & Rey, Patrick & Schmidt, Klaus M. & Stenbacka, Rune, 2005. "An Economic Approach to Article 82," Discussion Papers in Economics 745, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  4. Kaplow, Louis, 1994. "The Value of Accuracy in Adjudication: An Economic Analysis," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(1), pages 307-401, January.
  5. 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.
  6. Louis Kaplow & Steven Shavell, 1993. "Accuracy in the Assessment of Damages," NBER Working Papers 4287, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. A. Mitchell Polinsky & Steven Shavell, 1999. "The Economic Theory of Public Enforcement of Law," NBER Working Papers 6993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Png, I. P. L., 1986. "Optimal subsidies and damages in the presence of judicial error," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 101-105, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Immordino, Giovanni & Pagano, Marco & Polo, Michele, 2011. "Incentives to innovate and social harm: Laissez-faire, authorization or penalties?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7), pages 864-876.
  2. Matteo Rizzolli & Luca Stanca, 2012. "Judicial Errors and Crime Deterrence: Theory and Experimental Evidence," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(2), pages 311 - 338.
  3. Yannis Katsoulacos & David Ulph, 2008. "On Optimal Legal Standards for Competition Policy: A General Welfare-Based Analysis," Discussion Paper Series, Department of Economics 200812, Department of Economics, University of St. Andrews.

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