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The impact of court errors on liability sharing and safety regulation for environmental/industrial accidents

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  • Boyer, Marcel
  • Porrini, Donatella

Abstract

We focus in this paper on the effects of court errors on the optimal sharing of liability between firms and financiers, as an environmental policy instrument. Using a structural model of the interactions between firms, financial institutions, governments and courts we show, through numerical simulations, the distortions in liability sharing between firms and financiers that the imperfect implementation of government policies implies. We consider in particular the role played by the efficiency of the courts in jointly avoiding Type I (finding an innocent firm guilty of inappropriate care) and Type II (finding a guilty firm not guilty of inappropriate care) errors. This role is considered in a context where liability sharing is already distorted (when compared with first best values) due not only to the courts' own imperfect assessment of safety care levels exerted by firms but also to the presence of moral hazard and adverse selection in financial contracting. There is also not congruence of objectives between firms and financiers on the one hand and social welfare maximization on the other. Our results indicate that an increase in the efficiency of court system in avoiding errors raises safety care level, thereby reducing the probability of accident, and allowing the social welfare maximizing government to impose a lower liability [higher] share for firms [financiers] as well as a lower standard level of care.

Suggested Citation

  • Boyer, Marcel & Porrini, Donatella, 2011. "The impact of court errors on liability sharing and safety regulation for environmental/industrial accidents," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 21-29, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:irlaec:v:31:y:2011:i:1:p:21-29
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Pierre Bentata, 2014. "Liability as a complement to environmental regulation: an empirical study of the French legal system," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Springer;Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 16(3), pages 201-228, July.
    2. Andrzej Baniak & Peter Grajzl, 2016. "Controlling Product Risks when Consumers Are Heterogeneously Overconfident: Producer Liability versus Minimum-Quality-Standard Regulation," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 172(2), pages 274-304, June.
    3. Andrzej Baniak & Peter Grajzl, 2014. "Controlling Product Risks when Consumers are Heterogeneously Overconfident: Producer Liability vs. Minimum Quality Standard Regulation," CESifo Working Paper Series 5003, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Environmental policy Court efficiency Liability sharing Regulation Incomplete information;

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • K13 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Tort Law and Product Liability; Forensic Economics
    • K32 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Energy, Environmental, Health, and Safety Law
    • Q28 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Government Policy

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