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A Unilateral Accident Model under Ambiguity


  • Joshua C. Teitelbaum


Standard accident models are based on the expected utility framework and represent agents’ beliefs about accident risk with a probability distribution. Consequently, they do not allow for Knightian uncertainty, or ambiguity, with respect to accident risk and cannot accommodate optimism (ambiguity loving) or pessimism (ambiguity aversion). This paper presents a unilateral accident model under ambiguity. To incorporate ambiguity, I adopt the Choquet expected utility framework and represent the injurer’s beliefs with a neoadditive capacity. I show that neither strict liability nor negligence is generally efficient in the presence of ambiguity. In addition, I generally find that the injurer’s level of care decreases (increases) with ambiguity if he is optimistic (pessimistic) and decreases (increases) with his degree of optimism (pessimism). The results suggest that negligence is more robust to ambiguity and, therefore, may be superior to strict liability in unilateral accident cases. Finally, I design an efficient ambiguity-adjusted liability rule.

Suggested Citation

  • Joshua C. Teitelbaum, 2007. "A Unilateral Accident Model under Ambiguity," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(2), pages 431-477, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlstud:v:36:y:2007:p:431-477 DOI: 10.1086/511895

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Arlen, Jennifer H., 1990. "Re-examining liability rules when injurers as well as victims suffer losses," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 233-239, December.
    2. Oren Bar-Gill, 2006. "The Evolution and Persistence of Optimism in Litigation," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(2), pages 490-507, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Eichberger, Jürgen & Grant, Simon & Lefort, Jean-Philippe, 2008. "Neo-additive capacities and updating," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 08-31, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
    2. Gérard Mondello, 2017. "Un modèle d'accident unilatéral: incertitude non-radicale et estimations différenciées," GREDEG Working Papers 2017-12, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), University of Nice Sophia Antipolis.
    3. Mondello, Gérard, 2012. "La responsabilité environnementale des prêteurs : difficultés juridiques et ensemble des possibles," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 88(2), pages 257-278, Juin.
    4. Langlais, Eric, 2010. "Safety and the Allocation of Costs in Large Accidents," MPRA Paper 25710, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Nathalie Chappe & Raphaël Giraud, 2013. "Confidence, Optimism and Litigation: A Litigation Model under Ambiguity," Working Papers 2013-05, CRESE.
    6. Gérard Mondello, 2012. "The Equivalence of Strict Liability and Negligence Rule: A « Trompe l'œil » Perspective," Working Papers 2012.08, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    7. Éric Langlais, 2010. "Les criminels aiment-ils le risque ?," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 61(2), pages 263-280.
    8. repec:eee:reveco:v:50:y:2017:i:c:p:122-135 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Gérard Mondello, 2013. "Ambiguous Beliefs on Damages and Civil Liability Theories," Working Papers 2013.75, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    10. Craig Webb, 2015. "Piecewise additivity for non-expected utility," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 60(2), pages 371-392, October.
    11. Gérard Mondello, 2015. "Civil liability, Knight's UnCertainty and non-diCtatorial regUlator Documents de travail GREDEG GREDEG Working Papers Series," Working Papers hal-01251437, HAL.
    12. L. A. Franzoni, 2016. "Optimal liability design under risk and ambiguity," Working Papers wp1048, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
    13. Barbara Luppi & Francesco Parisi, 2016. "Optimal liability for optimistic tortfeasors," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 41(3), pages 559-574, June.
    14. Nicolas Lampach & Kene Boun My & Sandrine Spaeter, 2016. "Risk, Ambiguity and Efficient Liability Rules: An experiment," Working Papers of BETA 2016-30, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
    15. Bhole, Bharat & Wagner, Jeffrey, 2010. "Punitive damages and the recklessness requirement with uninformed injurers," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(3), pages 253-264, September.
    16. Nicolas Lampach & Sandrine Spaeter, 2016. "The Efficiency of (strict) Liability Rules revised in Risk and Ambiguity," Working Papers of BETA 2016-29, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
    17. repec:kap:theord:v:82:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s11238-016-9569-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    18. Gérard Mondello, 2016. "The Negligence Rule Specificity under Radical Uncertainty," GREDEG Working Papers 2016-32, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), University of Nice Sophia Antipolis.
    19. Kaluszka, Marek & Krzeszowiec, Michał, 2012. "Pricing insurance contracts under Cumulative Prospect Theory," Insurance: Mathematics and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 159-166.
    20. repec:dau:papers:123456789/7332 is not listed on IDEAS

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