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On the Limitation of Penalties and the Non-Equivalence of Penalties and Taxes

  • Stephan Marette
  • Estelle Gozlan
  • Bénédicte Coestier

This paper compares the impacts of a penalty on accident and a per-unit tax on output, when social damages depend on the output of firms. The choice of the optimal regulation, aiming at internalizing a damage, is influenced both by the market power of firms and by their potential (in)solvency in case of accident. Output strategies influence the solvency situation of firms for paying a penalty, which may lead to multiple equilibria (all firms are either solvent or insolvent in case of accident). When social damages are large, the optimal penalty is capped for avoiding a situation with insolvent firms. In this case, a regulator implements a per-unit tax.

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File URL: https://www6.versailles-grignon.inra.fr/economie_publique/Media/fichiers/Working-Papers/Working-Papers-2004/WP_2004_02
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Paper provided by INRA, Economie Publique in its series Working Papers with number 2004/02.

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Date of creation: 01 Sep 2004
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Handle: RePEc:apu:wpaper:2004/02
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  1. Shavell, S., 1986. "The judgment proof problem," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 45-58, June.
  2. Hamilton, Stephen F., 1998. "Taxation, Fines, And Producer Liability Rules: Efficiency And Market Structure Implications," 1998 Annual meeting, August 2-5, Salt Lake City, UT 20928, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  3. Lewis, Tracy R. & Sappington, David E. M., 1999. "Using decoupling and deep pockets to mitigate judgment-proof problems1," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 275-293, June.
  4. Boyd, James & Ingberman, Daniel E, 1994. "Noncompensatory Damages and Potential Insolvency," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(2), pages 895-910, June.
  5. Buchanan, James M, 1969. "External Diseconomies, Corrective Taxes, and Market Structure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(1), pages 174-77, March.
  6. Polinsky, A Mitchell, 1980. "Strict Liability vs. Negligence in a Market Setting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(2), pages 363-67, May.
  7. Kolstad, Charles D & Ulen, Thomas S & Johnson, Gary V, 1990. "Ex Post Liability for Harm vs. Ex Ante Safety Regulation: Substitutes or Complements?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(4), pages 888-901, September.
  8. Mailath George J. & Okuno-Fujiwara Masahiro & Postlewaite Andrew, 1993. "Belief-Based Refinements in Signalling Games," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 241-276, August.
  9. A. Mitchell Polinsky & William P. Rogerson, 1982. "Products Liability, Consumer Misperceptions, and Market Power," NBER Working Papers 0937, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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