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On the optimality of a duty-to-rescue rule and the cost of wrongful intervention

Author

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  • Crettez, Bertrand
  • Deloche, Regis

Abstract

In common law legal systems, there is no legal duty to rescue persons in danger. By contrast in code-based legal systems, the principle of duty to rescue does apply. What is behind this difference? To answer this question, we develop a new model extending the reach and strength of the standard civic duty game by taking into account the cost of wrongful intervention. We use this model to analyze and compare three policy options: doing nothing, adopting a duty-to-rescue rule, and encouraging would-be rescuers. We show that a duty-to-rescue rule is more likely to be welfare enhancing when the cost of inappropriately intervening is low, and that, in certain cases, encouraging would-be rescuers is preferred by a representative citizen to both a duty-to-rescue rule and no-rule. Finally, we offer an explanation for the choices made in the USA and France as to whether to use rescue laws.

Suggested Citation

  • Crettez, Bertrand & Deloche, Regis, 2011. "On the optimality of a duty-to-rescue rule and the cost of wrongful intervention," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 263-271.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:irlaec:v:31:y:2011:i:4:p:263-271
    DOI: 10.1016/j.irle.2011.08.002
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Palfrey, Thomas R. & Rosenthal, Howard, 1984. "Participation and the provision of discrete public goods: a strategic analysis," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(2), pages 171-193, July.
    2. Rubin, Paul H., 1986. "Costs and benefits of a duty to rescue," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 273-276, December.
    3. Sophie Harnay & Alain Marciano, 2009. "Should I help my neighbor? Self-interest, altruism and economic analyses of rescue laws," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 28(2), pages 103-131, October.
    4. Joseph E Harrington Jr, 2001. "A Simple Game-Theoretic Explanation for the Relationship Between Group Size and Helping," Economics Working Paper Archive 417, The Johns Hopkins University,Department of Economics.
    5. William M. Landes & Richard A. Posner, 1978. "Salvors, Finders, Good Samaritans and Other Rescuers: An Economic Study of Law and Altruism," NBER Working Papers 0227, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Hasen, Richard L., 1995. "The efficient duty to rescue," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 141-150, June.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Rothenhäusler, Dominik & Schweizer, Nikolaus & Szech, Nora, 2013. "Institutions, shared guilt, and moral transgression," Working Paper Series in Economics 47, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Department of Economics and Business Engineering.
    2. Dominik Rothenhaüsler & Nikolaus Schweizer & Nora Szech, 2016. "Guilt in Voting and Public Good Games," Working Papers 2016-026, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    3. Rothenhäusler, Dominik & Schweizer, Nikolaus & Szech, Nora, 2016. "Guilt in voting and public good games," Working Paper Series in Economics 99, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Department of Economics and Business Engineering.
    4. Rothenhäusler, Dominik & Schweizer, Nikolaus & Szech, Nora, 2013. "Institutions, shared guilt, and moral transgression," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economics of Change SP II 2013-305, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    5. repec:eee:eecrev:v:101:y:2018:i:c:p:664-681 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Szech, Nora & Rothenhäusler, Dominik & Schweizer, Nikolaus, 2014. "Institutions, Shared Guilt, and Moral Transgression," Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100518, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    7. Dominik Rothenhäusler & Nikolaus Schweizer & Nora Szech, 2015. "Institutions, Shared Guilt, and Moral Transgression," CESifo Working Paper Series 5525, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Bystander effect; Duty to rescue;

    JEL classification:

    • K00 - Law and Economics - - General - - - General (including Data Sources and Description)

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