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An Activity-Generating Theory of Regulation

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  • Schwartzstein, Joshua
  • Shleifer, Andrei

Abstract

We propose an activity-generating theory of regulation. When courts make errors, tort litigation becomes unpredictable and as such imposes risk on firms, thereby discouraging entry, innovation, and other socially desirable activity. When social returns to activity are higher than private returns, it may pay the society to generate some information ex ante about how risky firms are and to impose safety standards based on that information. In some situations, compliance with such standards should entirely preempt tort liability; in others, it should merely reduce penalties. By reducing litigation risk, this type of regulation can raise welfare.

Suggested Citation

  • Schwartzstein, Joshua & Shleifer, Andrei, 2013. "An Activity-Generating Theory of Regulation," Scholarly Articles 27814564, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hrv:faseco:27814564
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Immordino, Giovanni & Pagano, Marco & Polo, Michele, 2011. "Incentives to innovate and social harm: Laissez-faire, authorization or penalties?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7-8), pages 864-876, August.
    2. Immordino, Giovanni & Polo, Michele, 2014. "Antitrust, legal standards and investment," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 36-50.
    3. TAKEDA Yosuke & UCHIDA Ichihiro, 2015. "Innovation and Legal Enforcement for Competition Policy: Theory and international evidence from overseas subsidiaries of the Japanese auto-parts suppliers," Discussion papers 15046, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    4. Kenneth S. Corts, 2013. "Prohibitions on False and Unsubstantiated Claims: Inducing the Acquisition and Revelation of Information through Competition Policy," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 56(2), pages 453-486.
    5. Goeschl, Timo & Pfrommer, Tobias, 2015. "Learning by Negligence - Torts, Experimentation, and the Value of Information," Working Papers 0598, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics.
    6. Giovanni Immordino & Michele Polo, 2014. "Public Policies in Investment-Intensive Industries," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: THE ANALYSIS OF COMPETITION POLICY AND SECTORAL REGULATION, chapter 13, pages 365-388 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    7. Andrei Shleifer, 2010. "Efficient Regulation," NBER Chapters,in: Regulation vs. Litigation: Perspectives from Economics and Law, pages 27-43 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Scott Baker & Claudio Mezzetti, 2012. "A Theory of Rational Jurisprudence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 120(3), pages 513-551.
    9. Maciej H. Kotowski & David A. Weisbach & Richard J. Zeckhauser, 2014. "Rules and Standards When Compliance Costs Are Private Information," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(S2), pages 297-329.
    10. Arup Bose & Debashis Pal & David E. M. Sappington, 2016. "On the Merits of Antitrust Liability in Regulated Industries," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(2), pages 359-392.
    11. Andrzej Baniak & Peter Grajzl, 2014. "Controlling Product Risks when Consumers are Heterogeneously Overconfident: Producer Liability vs. Minimum Quality Standard Regulation," CESifo Working Paper Series 5003, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • K13 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Tort Law and Product Liability; Forensic Economics
    • K40 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - General
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation

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