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Judicial Errors and Innovative Activity


  • Giovanni Immordino
  • Michele Polo


We analyze the effect of judicial errors on the innovative activity of firms. If successful, the innovative effort allows to take new actions that may be ex-post welfare enhancing (legal) or decreasing (illegal). Deterrence in this setting works by affecting the incentives to invest in innovation (average deterrence). Type-I errors, through over-enforcement, discourage innovative effort while type-II errors (under-enforcement) spur it. The ex-ante expected welfare effect of innovations shapes the optimal policy design. When innovations are ex-ante welfare improving, laissez-faire is chosen. When innovations are instead welfare decreasing, law enforcement should limit them through average deterrence. We consider several policy environments differing in the instruments available. Enforcement effort is always positive and fines are (weakly) increasing in the social loss of innovations. In some cases accuracy is not implemented, contrary to the traditional model where it always enhances (marginal) deterrence, while in others it is improved selectively only on type-II errors (asymmetric protocols of investigation).

Suggested Citation

  • Giovanni Immordino & Michele Polo, 2008. "Judicial Errors and Innovative Activity," Working Papers 337, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  • Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:337

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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), pages 864-876.
    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. Claudio Calcagno, 2012. "Stand-alone private antitrust damages: (how) should competition authorities react?," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 34(2), pages 365-389, October.
    4. Giovanni Immordino & Michele Polo, 2012. "Antitrust in Innovative Industries: the Optimal Legal Standards," Working Papers 434, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
    5. Ghebrihiwet, N. & Motchenkova, E.I., 2010. "Leniency programs in the presence of judicial errors," Serie Research Memoranda 0008, VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Econometrics.
    6. Matteo Rizzolli & Luca Stanca, 2012. "Judicial Errors and Crime Deterrence: Theory and Experimental Evidence," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 55(2), pages 311-338.
    7. Yannis Katsoulacos & David Ulph, 2009. "On Optimal Legal Standards For Competition Policy: A General Welfare‚ÄźBased Analysis," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(3), pages 410-437, September.

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