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The Efficient Liability Sharing Factor For Environmental Disasters: Lessons For Optimal Insurance Regulation


  • Marcel Boyer
  • Donatella Porrini


Using a structural model of the interactions between governments, firms and insurance companies, we characterise the distortions in environmental liability sharing between firms and insurance companies that the imperfect implementation of government policies implies. These distortions stem from three factors: the presence of moral hazard, the non congruence between firms/insurers objectives and social welfare, and the courts' imperfect assessment of safety care levels exerted by firms. We characterize cases where the efficient liability sharing factor is above or below its full information perfect implementation level. We derive comparative statics results indicating how sensitive the liability sharing factor is to changes in parameters (parameters that underlie the firm profit level and volatility, the cost of safety care, the monitoring cost, the social cost of public funds, the effectiveness of care in reducing the probability of accident) that are relevant for the characterization of optimal policies (liability sharing, safety care standards) toward environmental protection or the prevention of industrial accidents. We derive policy implications regarding environmental disaster insurance policies. À l'aide d'un modèle structurel des interactions entre les gouvernements, les entreprises et les assureurs, nous caractérisons les distorsions dans le partage des responsabilités entre entreprises et assureurs qu'implique la mise en place imparfaite des politiques gouvernementales. Ces distorsions résultent de trois facteurs : la présence de risque moral, la non-congruence des objectifs des entreprises, des assureurs et de bien-être social, et l'observation imparfaite des efforts de prévention des entreprises par le système judiciaire. Nous dérivons des résultats de statique comparée montrant la sensibilité du facteur de partage des responsabilités à des changements dans les paramètres sous-jacents à la profitabilité, au coût des efforts de prévention, à l'efficacité de ces efforts dans la réduction de la probabilité d'accident, au coût de monitoring, au coût social des fonds publics, et qui sont pertinents à la caractérisation des politiques optimales (partage de responsabilité, standard légal du niveau de prévention) de protection environnementale et de prévention des accidents. Nous en déduisons certaines implications quant aux politiques relatives à l'assurance contre les désastres environnementaux.

Suggested Citation

  • Marcel Boyer & Donatella Porrini, 2008. "The Efficient Liability Sharing Factor For Environmental Disasters: Lessons For Optimal Insurance Regulation," CIRANO Working Papers 2008s-03, CIRANO.
  • Handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:2008s-03

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. BOYER, Marcel, 1995. "Environmental Protection Producer Insolvency and Lender Liability," Cahiers de recherche 9557, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
    2. Marcel Boyer & Donatella Porrini, 2004. "Modelling the choice between regulation and liability in terms of social welfare," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 37(3), pages 590-612, August.
    3. Heyes, Anthony G, 1996. "Lender Penalty for Environmental Damage and the Equilibrium Cost of Capital," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 63(250), pages 311-323, May.
    4. Segerson, Kathleen & Tietenberg, Tom, 1992. "The structure of penalties in environmental enforcement: An economic analysis," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 179-200, September.
    5. Michael G Faure & Göran Skogh, 1992. "Compensation for Damages Caused by Nuclear Accidents: A Convention as Insurance," The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance - Issues and Practice, Palgrave Macmillan;The Geneva Association, vol. 17(4), pages 499-513, October.
    6. Eberhard Feess & Ulrich Hege, 2000. "Environmental Harm and Financial Responsibility*," The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance - Issues and Practice, Palgrave Macmillan;The Geneva Association, vol. 25(2), pages 220-234, April.
    7. Boyd, James, 2001. "Financial Responsibility for Environmental Obligations: Are Bonding and Assurance Rules Fulfilling Their Promise?," Discussion Papers dp-01-42, Resources For the Future.
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    9. Marcel Boyer & Donatella Porrini, 2007. "Sharing Liability Between Banks and Firms: The Case of Industrial Safety Risk," CIRANO Working Papers 2007s-04, CIRANO.
    10. Boyer, Marcel & Laffont, Jean-Jacques, 1997. "Environmental risks and bank liability," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(8), pages 1427-1459, August.
    11. Marcel Boyer & Donatella Porrini, 2002. "The Choice of Instruments for Environmental Policy: Liability or Regulation?," CIRANO Working Papers 2002s-17, CIRANO.
    12. Baumol,William J. & Oates,Wallace E., 1988. "The Theory of Environmental Policy," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521322249, March.
    13. Pitchford, Rohan, 1995. "How Liable Should a Lender Be? The Case of Judgment-Proof Firms and Environmental Risk," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1171-1186, December.
    14. Cropper, Maureen L & Oates, Wallace E, 1992. "Environmental Economics: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(2), pages 675-740, June.
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    17. Ringleb, Al H & Wiggins, Steven N, 1990. "Liability and Large-Scale, Long-term Hazards," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(3), pages 574-595, June.
    18. Marcel Boyer & Donatella Porrini, 2000. "Law versus Regulation: A Political Economy Model of Instrument Choice in Environmental Policy," CIRANO Working Papers 2000s-57, CIRANO.
    19. Douglas Gale & Martin Hellwig, 1985. "Incentive-Compatible Debt Contracts: The One-Period Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(4), pages 647-663.
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    Cited by:

    1. BOYER, Marcel & PORRINI, Donatella, 2010. "Optimal Liability Sharing and Court Errors : An Exploratory Analysis," Cahiers de recherche 05-2010, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
    2. Boyer, Marcel & Porrini, Donatella, 2011. "The impact of court errors on liability sharing and safety regulation for environmental/industrial accidents," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 21-29, March.
    3. Gérard Mondello, 2010. "Risky Activities and Strict Liability Rules: Delegating Safety," Working Papers 2010.103, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    4. Gérard Mondello, 2012. "Strict Liability, Capped Strict Liability, and Care Effort under Asymmetric Information," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 168(2), pages 232-251, June.
    5. Gérard Mondello, 2017. "Lenders and Risky Activities: Strict Liability or Negligence Rule?," GREDEG Working Papers 2017-13, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), University of Nice Sophia Antipolis.
    6. Ben White, 2015. "Do control rights determine the optimal extension of liability to investors? The case of environmental policy for mines," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 48(1), pages 26-52, August.
    7. Grislain-Letrémy, Céline, 2012. "Assurance et prévention des catastrophes naturelles et technologiques," Economics Thesis from University Paris Dauphine, Paris Dauphine University, number 123456789/9073 edited by Villeneuve, Bertrand, March.

    More about this item


    Liability sharing; environmental insurance; safety care; moral hazard; principal-agent.; Partage de responsabilité; assurance environnementale; effort de prévention; risque moral; principal-agent.;

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • K13 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Tort Law and Product Liability; Forensic Economics
    • K32 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Energy, Environmental, Health, and Safety Law
    • Q28 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Government Policy

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