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Prepondeance of the Evidence: Tort Rules and the Efficient Standard of Proof

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Abstract

This paper analyzes the cost and incentive properties of the standard of proof for a finding of negligence. In common law, the usual standard is for courts to decide on the basis of a so-called balance of probabilities or preponderance of the evidence. We show that, if producing information about defendants' behavior is socially costly, preponderance of the evidence is the only cost-and-incentive efficient standard of proof consistent with a negligence rule. Cet article analyse les propriétés d'efficience du standard ou degré de preuve requis pour un jugement en responsabilité civile. Dans la common law, le tribunal décide selon la balance des probabilités en fonction du principe de la prépondérance de la preuve. Nous montrons que, si la production d'information sur le comportement du défendeur est socialement coûteuse, ce standard de preuve est le seul qui soit efficace sur le plan coûts-incitations dans un contexte de reponsabilité pour faute.

Suggested Citation

  • Dominique Demougin & Claude Fluet, 2000. "Prepondeance of the Evidence: Tort Rules and the Efficient Standard of Proof," Cahiers de recherche CREFE / CREFE Working Papers 120, CREFE, Université du Québec à Montréal.
  • Handle: RePEc:cre:crefwp:120
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    File URL: http://www.unites.uqam.ca/eco/CREFE/cahiers/cah120.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Claude Fluet & Dominique Demougin, 2001. "Ranking of information systems in agency models: an integral condition," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 17(2), pages 489-496.
    2. Fluet, Claude, 1999. "Régulation des risques et insolvabilité : le rôle de la responsabilité pour faute en information imparfaite," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 75(1), pages 379-399, mars-juin.
    3. Craswell, Richard & Calfee, John E, 1986. "Deterrence and Uncertain Legal Standards," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 2(2), pages 279-303, Fall.
    4. Hyun Song Shin, 1998. "Adversarial and Inquisitorial Procedures in Arbitration," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(2), pages 378-405, Summer.
    5. Demougin, Dominique & Fluet, Claude, 2001. "Monitoring versus incentives," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(9), pages 1741-1764, October.
    6. Polinsky, A Mitchell & Shavell, Steven, 1989. "Legal Error, Litigation, and the Incentive to Obey the Law," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(1), pages 99-108, Spring.
    7. Hay, Bruce L & Spier, Kathryn E, 1997. "Burdens of Proof in Civil Litigation: An Economic Perspective," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(2), pages 413-431, June.
    8. Paul Milgrom & John Roberts, 1986. "Relying on the Information of Interested Parties," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(1), pages 18-32, Spring.
    9. Daniel L. Rubinfeld & David E.M. Sappington, 1987. "Efficient Awards and Standards of Proof in Judicial Proceedings," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 18(2), pages 308-315, Summer.
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    11. Kaplow, Louis & Shavell, Steven, 1994. "Accuracy in the Determination of Liability," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 37(1), pages 1-15, April.
    12. Sanchirico, Chris William, 1997. "The burden of proof in civil litigation: A simple model of mechanism design," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 431-447, September.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Negligence; preponderance of the evidence; standard of proof; tort rules.;

    JEL classification:

    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty
    • K4 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior

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