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On the Effectiveness of Liability Rules when Agents are not Identical

Author

Listed:
  • Winand Emons
  • Joel Sobel

Abstract

This paper is about accidents involving two risk-neutral parties. Both parties engage in actions that are profitable but affect the magnitude of possible bilateral accidents. We analyse how the action choices can be decentralized by liability rules that assign the accident costs to the two parties. If we allow for punitive damages, we can implement the first-best actions by a liability rule even if agents are not identical. Under this liability rule some individuals may be in expectation better off in the event of an accident than in the event of no accident. We provide conditions under which this problem does not arise.

Suggested Citation

  • Winand Emons & Joel Sobel, 1991. "On the Effectiveness of Liability Rules when Agents are not Identical," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 375-390.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:restud:v:58:y:1991:i:2:p:375-390.
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.2307/2297973
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    Cited by:

    1. Robert Cooter & Winand Emons, 2004. "Truth-Bonding and Other Truth-Revealing Mechanisms for Courts," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 17(3), pages 307-327, May.
    2. Hoffmann, Sandra & Schwartz, Warren & Dharmapala, Dhammika, 2001. "A Neglected Interdependency in Liability Theory," Discussion Papers dp-01-13, Resources For the Future.
    3. Ram Singh, 2009. "RISK, INFORMATIONAL ASYMMETRY AND PRODUCT LIABILITY: An Enquiry Into Conflicting Objectives," Pacific Economic Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(1), pages 89-112, February.
    4. Ram Singh, 2006. "On the Existence and Efficiency of Equilibria under Liability Rules," Working papers 150, Centre for Development Economics, Delhi School of Economics.
    5. Giuseppe Dari-Mattiacci & Gerrit De Geest, 2005. "The Filtering Effect of Sharing Rules," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(1), pages 207-237, January.
    6. Winand Emons, 2005. "Perjury versus Truth Revelation: Quantity or Quality of Testimony," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 161(3), pages 392-392, September.
    7. Emanuela Carbonara & Alice Guerra & Francesco Parisi, 2016. "Sharing Residual Liability: The Cheapest Cost Avoider Revisited," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(1), pages 173-201.
    8. Bartsch, Elga, 1997. "Environmental liability, imperfect information, and multidimensional pollution control," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 139-146, March.
    9. Joshua Schwartzstein & Andrei Shleifer, 2013. "An Activity-Generating Theory of Regulation," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56(1), pages 1-38.
    10. Chen, Yongmin & Hua, Xinyu, 2010. "Ex ante Investment, Ex post Remedy, and Product Liability," MPRA Paper 22031, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Dhammika Dharmapala & Sandra A. Hoffmann, 2005. "Bilateral Accidents with Intrinsically Interdependent Costs of Precaution," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(1), pages 239-272, January.
    12. Robert Cooter & Winand Emons, 2003. "Truth-Revealing Mechanisms for Courts," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 159(2), pages 259-259, June.
    13. Baumann, Florian & Friehe, Tim, 2009. "On the superiority of damage averaging in the case of strict liability," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 138-142, June.
    14. Steven Shavell, 2005. "Liability for Accidents," NBER Working Papers 11781, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Nuno Garoupa, 2009. "Least-Cost Avoidance: The Tragedy of Common Safety," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(1), pages 235-261, May.
    16. González, Patrick, 2003. "Optimal Assignment of Liabilities," Cahiers de recherche 0305, Université Laval - Département d'économique.
    17. Guerra, Alice & Hlobil, Tobias M., 2015. "Tailoring Negligence Standards to Accident Records," MPRA Paper 66281, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. Bartsch, Elga, 1996. "Enforcement of environmental liability in the case of uncertain causality and asymmetric information," Kiel Working Papers 755, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    19. Patrick González, 2004. "Nash Implementable Liability Rules for Judgement-Proof Injurers," CIRANO Working Papers 2004s-58, CIRANO.

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