IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

The Problem of Shared Social Cost

Listed author(s):
  • Marco Alan C.

    (Washington and Lee University)

  • Van Woerden Adon S.

    (Vassar College)

  • Woodward Robert M.

    (Vassar College)

This paper presents a mechanism for regulating pollution when industry harm--but not individual firms' contributions--is observable. The mechanism is based on a modification of Cooter and Porat's Total Liability for Excessive Harm (TLEH). We propose an alternative mechanism of Shared Social Costs (SSC), where firms share the total cost of industry harm and abatement costs. In cases where the abatement costs for each firm are verifiable, SSC may provide an efficient alternative to TLEH. The mechanisms are largely equivalent, but require different types of information for the regulator. For a legal target to be set in TLEH, it requires either knowing the cost functions of individual firms or accommodating error costs by gradually reducing the legal target until the efficient level is found. On the other hand, SSC requires observing individual firms' actual abatement expenditures as opposed to knowing their cost functions. Both rules provide efficient incentives for abatement, and require being able to observe and monetize industry level harm. We show that SSC leads to efficient incentives for entry and exit, has appealing incentives for innovation, and can be applied advantageously to remediation. In markets with heterogeneous firms, we propose weighting cost-sharing by firms' market shares.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: For access to full text, subscription to the journal or payment for the individual article is required.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal Review of Law & Economics.

Volume (Year): 5 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (April)
Pages: 137-153

in new window

Handle: RePEc:bpj:rlecon:v:5:y:2009:i:1:n:6
Contact details of provider: Web page:

Order Information: Web:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

in new window

  1. Robert Cooter & Ariel Porat, 2007. "Total Liability for Excessive Harm," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(1), pages 63-80, 01.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bpj:rlecon:v:5:y:2009:i:1:n:6. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Peter Golla)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.