Realistic Standards: Optimal Negligence with Limited Liability
We study the standard economic model of unilateral accidents under the assumption that the injurers have limited assets. We identify a second-best optimal rule that selects as due care the minimum of first-best care and a level of care that takes into account the wealth of the injurer. We show that such a rule in fact maximizes the precautionary effort by a potential injurer. The idea is counterintuitive: being softer on an injurer, in terms of the required level of care, actually improves the incentives when he or she is potentially insolvent. We extend the basic result to an entire population of potentially insolvent injurers and find that the optimal general standards of care do depend on wealth and the distribution of income. We also show that, under certain conditions, wealthier populations should be subject to higher general standards of care in the case of accidents. (c) 2008 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved..
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:jlstud:v:37:y:2008:i:2:p:577-594. 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.