Corrective Taxation versus Liability as a Solution to the Problem of Harmful Externalities
Although the corrective tax has long been viewed by economists as a desirable remedy for the problem of harmful externalities, its actual use has been limited, mainly to the domain of pollution. Liability, in contrast, has great importance in controlling harmful externalities. I compare the tax and liability in theory and suggest that the conclusions help explain the observed predominance of liability over taxation, except in the area of pollution. The following factors are emphasized: inefficiency of incentives under taxes when the state cannot practically take into account all variables that significantly affect expected harm; efficiency of incentives under strict liability, which requires only that actual harms be measured; efficiency of incentives under the negligence rule; administrative cost advantages of liability deriving from its being applied only when harm occurs; and dilution of incentives under liability when suit is unlikely or injurers cannot pay fully for harm.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:doi:10.1086/661944. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Journals Division)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.