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Excessive spending by firms to avoid accidents: Is it a concern in practice?

  • van 't Veld, Klaas
  • Hutchinson, Emma

Shavell's [Shavell, S. (1986). The judgment proof problem. International Review of Law and Economics, 6, 45-58] original model of the judgment proof problem treats costs of care to prevent accidents as non-monetary. Noting that this is unrealistic when injurers are firms, several authors have found that with monetary care costs, some judgment-proof firms perversely take excess rather than insufficient care. In this paper, we make explicit the quite specific assumptions required for the excess-care result to arise even in theory, and demonstrate that, even under these assumptions, the result is likely to be quantitatively unimportant. We also suggest an alternative model that, while treating care costs as monetary, avoids the excess-care result.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal International Review of Law and Economics.

Volume (Year): 29 (2009)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
Pages: 324-335

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Handle: RePEc:eee:irlaec:v:29:y:2009:i:4:p:324-335
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/irle

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  1. Innes, Robert, 1999. "Optimal liability with stochastic harms, judgement-proof injurers, and asymmetric information1," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 181-203, June.
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  5. Dari-Mattiacci, Giuseppe & De Geest, Gerrit, 2006. "When will judgment proof injurers take too much precaution?," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 336-354, September.
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  8. Eberhard Feess & Ulrich Hege, 2000. "Environmental Harm and Financial Responsibility*," The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance - Issues and Practice, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 25(2), pages 220-234, April.
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  12. Feess, E. & Hege, U., 2000. "Environmental harm and financial responsibility," Other publications TiSEM 7122a4d0-683c-49ed-a55f-0, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  13. Miceli, Thomas J. & Segerson, Kathleen, 2003. "A note on optimal care by wealth-constrained injurers," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3), pages 273-284, September.
  14. Hutchinson, Emma & van 't Veld, Klaas, 2005. "Extended liability for environmental accidents: what you see is what you get," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 157-173, January.
  15. Posey, Lisa Lipowski, 1993. "Limited liability and incentives when firms can inflict damages greater than net worth," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(3), pages 325-330, September.
  16. Myers, Stewart C., 1977. "Determinants of corporate borrowing," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(2), pages 147-175, November.
  17. Lewis, Tracy R. & Sappington, David E. M., 1999. "Using decoupling and deep pockets to mitigate judgment-proof problems1," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 275-293, June.
  18. Randall K. Filer & Devra L. Golbe, 2003. "Debt, Operating Margin, and Investment In Workplace Safety," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(3), pages 359-381, 09.
  19. Strand, J., 1992. "Environmental Accidents Under Moral Hazard and Limited Firm Liability," Memorandum 22/1992, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  20. van 't Veld, Klaas, 2006. "Hazardous-industry restructuring to avoid liability for accidents," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 297-322, September.
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