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Liability rules under evidentiary uncertainty

  • Fluet, Claude

This paper characterizes the efficient evidentiary thresholds for establishing negligence when courts have imperfect evidence about care. An evidentiary threshold refers to the "weight of evidence", given the risk of error, for ruling that a party was at fault and differs from the substantive due care standard that the party should meet. I show that efficient evidentiary thresholds differ between liability rules and are therefore inconsistent with a general invariant standard of proof. In particular, they require a greater "weight of evidence" than the common law standard of the preponderance of evidence, which tends to induce overcompliance.

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

Volume (Year): 30 (2010)
Issue (Month): 1 (March)
Pages: 1-9

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Handle: RePEc:eee:irlaec:v:30:y:2010:i:1:p:1-9
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/irle

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Dominique Demougin & Claude Fluet, 2002. "Preponderance of Evidence," Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers 150, CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Paul Milgrom & John Roberts, 1986. "Relying on the Information of Interested Parties," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(1), pages 18-32, Spring.
  8. P. A. Diamond, 1973. "Single Activity Accidents," Working papers 113, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  9. Shavell, Steven, 2007. "Liability for Accidents," Handbook of Law and Economics, Elsevier.
  10. Demougin, Dominique & Fluet, Claude, 2001. "Monitoring versus incentives," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(9), pages 1741-1764, October.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. Fluet, Claude, 1999. "Régulation des risques et insolvabilité : le rôle de la responsabilité pour faute en information imparfaite," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 75(1), pages 379-399, mars-juin.
  14. Bernardo, Antonio E & Talley, Eric & Welch, Ivo, 2000. "A Theory of Legal Presumptions," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(1), pages 1-49, April.
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  17. Kim, Son Ku, 1995. "Efficiency of an Information System in an Agency Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(1), pages 89-102, January.
  18. 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.
  19. Steven Shavell, 2003. "Economic Analysis of Accident Law," NBER Working Papers 9694, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. Schweizer, Urs, 2005. "Law and Economics of Obligations," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 209-228, June.
  23. 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.
  24. Daniel P. Kessler & Mark McClellan, 1996. "Do Doctors Practice Defensive Medicine?," NBER Working Papers 5466, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Claude Fluet & Dominique Demougin, 2001. "Ranking of information systems in agency models: an integral condition," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 17(2), pages 489-496.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. Kessler, Daniel & McClellan, Mark, 1996. "Do Doctors Practice Defensive Medicine?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(2), pages 353-90, May.
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