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Comparative Vigilance

  • Allan M. Feldman
  • Ram Singh

A growing body of literature suggests that courts and juries are inclined toward division of liability between two strictly non-negligent or "vigilant" parties. In this paper, we explore the economic efficiency of liability rules based on comparative vigilance. We devise rules that are efficient and that reward vigilance. Commonly used liability rules have discontinuous liability shares. We develop a liability rule, which we call the "super-symmetric rule," that is both efficient and continuous, that is based on comparative negligence when both parties are negligent and on comparative vigilance when both parties are vigilant, and that is always responsive to increased care. Copyright 2009, Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal American Law and Economics Review.

Volume (Year): 11 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 134-161

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Handle: RePEc:oup:amlawe:v:11:y:2009:i:1:p:134-161
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  1. Peter A. Diamond, 1974. "Single Activity Accidents," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages 107-164, January.
  2. Ram Singh, 2006. "On the Existence and Efficiency of Equilibria Under Liability Rules," NBER Working Papers 12625, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Kim, Jeonghyun & Feldman, Allan M., 2006. "Victim or injurer, small car or SUV: Tort liability rules under role-type uncertainty," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 455-477, December.
  4. Feldman, Allan M. & Frost, John M., 1998. "A simple model of efficient tort liability rules," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 201-215, June.
  5. Jeonghyun Kim, 2004. "A Complete Characterization of Efficient Liability Rules: Comment," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 81(1), pages 61-75, 01.
  6. Allan M. Feldman & Jeonghyun Kim, 2002. "The Hand Rule and United States v. Carroll Towing Co. Reconsidered," Working Papers 2002-27, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  7. Miceli, Thomas J., 1997. "Economics of the Law: Torts, Contracts, Property, Litigation," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195103908, March.
  8. Marks, Stephen, 1994. "Discontinuities, Causation, and Grady's Uncertainty Theorem," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(1), pages 287-301, January.
  9. Miceli, Thomas J., 1996. "Cause in fact, proximate cause, and the hand rule: Extending Grady's positive economic theory of negligence," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 473-482, December.
  10. Kahan, Marcel, 1989. "Causation and Incentives to Take Care under the Negligence Rule," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(2), pages 427-47, June.
  11. Rea, Samuel Jr., 1987. "The economics of comparative negligence," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 149-162, December.
  12. Oren Bar-Gill & Omri Ben-Shahar, 2003. "The Uneasy Case for Comparative Negligence," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(2), pages 433-469, August.
  13. Yu-Ping Liao & Michelle J. White, 2002. "No-Fault for Motor Vehicles: An Economic Analysis," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(2), pages 258-294.
  14. Francesco Parisi, 2004. "Comparative Causation," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(2), pages 345-368.
  15. Kaplow, Louis, 1995. "A Model of the Optimal Complexity of Legal Rules," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(1), pages 150-63, April.
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