Decoupling as Transactions Tax
In an influential paper, Polinsky and Che propose that litigation can be made a more cost-effective tool for setting primary activity incentives (such as for product safety or promissory performance) by reducing plaintiffs' recovery while simultaneously raising defendants' damages. Decoupling recovery and damages in this manner reduces the number of filed suits but increases the deterrent impact of each. Litigation costs fall, but if damages are raised sufficiently, the level of deterrence is maintained. Yet this story does not account for the fact that when the state takes from liable defendants more than it gives to victorious plaintiffs, it effectively taxes the transaction that led to the litigation. This tax drives a wedge between the private and social benefits of entering the transaction. The result is that socially beneficial transactions may fail to take place. In this paper we explore how this transaction-discouraging aspect of decoupling affects its propriety.
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- Kahan, Marcel & Tuckman, Bruce, 1995. "Special levies on punitive damages: Decoupling, agency problems, and litigation expenditures," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 175-185, June.
- A. Mitchell Polinsky & Yeon-Koo Che, 1991.
"Decoupling Liability: Optimal Incentives for Care and Litigation,"
NBER Working Papers
3634, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- A. Mitchell Polinsky & Yeon-Koo Che, 1991. "Decoupling Liability: Optimal Incentives for Care and Litigation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(4), pages 562-570, Winter.
- A. Mitchell Polinsky, 1986. "Detrebling versus Decoupling Antitrust Damages: Lessons from the Theory of Enforcement," NBER Working Papers 1846, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Claudia M. Landeo & Maxim Nikitin, 2006.
"Split-Award Tort Reform, Firm's Level of Care, and Litigation Outcomes,"
Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE),
Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 162(4), pages 571-600, December.
- Maxim Nikitin & Claudia M. Landeo, 2004. "Split-Award Tort Reform, Firm's Level of Care and Litigation Outcomes," Econometric Society 2004 Latin American Meetings 4, Econometric Society.
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