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Legal versus Normative Incentives under Judicial Error

  • Bruno Deffains
  • Claude Fluet

We analyze the complementarity between legal incentives (the threat of being held liable for damages) and normative incentives (the fear of social disapproval or stigma) in situations where instances of misbehavior are not perfectly observable. There may be multiple equilibria within a given legal regime, as well as multiple socio-legal equilibria. In particular, there are high stigma-high evidentiary standard regimes versus low stigma-low standard ones. We argue that this may explain some of the differences between common law and civil law regarding the notions of fault or negligence. Our analysis also provides an explanation for trends currently observed in civil-law systems, in particular the weakening of evidentiary requirements in tort cases.

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Paper provided by CIRPEE in its series Cahiers de recherche with number 0718.

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Date of creation: 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:lvl:lacicr:0718
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  1. Frey, Bruno S & Jegen, Reto, 2001. " Motivation Crowding Theory," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(5), pages 589-611, December.
  2. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2004. "Incentives and Prosocial Behavior," Working Papers 137, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Discussion Papers in Economics..
  3. Roberto Galbiati & Pietro Vertova, 2005. "Law and Behaviours in Social Dilemmas: Testing the Effect of Obligations on Cooperation," Labsi Experimental Economics Laboratory University of Siena 001, University of Siena.
  4. Cooter, Robert & Porat, Ariel, 2001. "Should Courts Deduct Nonlegal Sanctions from Damages?," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(2), pages 401-22, Part I Ju.
  5. Jean-Robert Tyran & Lars P. Feld, 2006. "Achieving Compliance when Legal Sanctions are Non-deterrent," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 108(1), pages 135-156, 03.
  6. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:111:y:1996:i:2:p:507-48 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Dominique Demougin & Claude Fluet, 2005. "Deterrence versus Judicial Error: A Comparative View of Standards of Proof," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 161(2), pages 193-, June.
  8. Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote & Jose A. Scheinkman, 1995. "Crime and Social Interactions," NBER Working Papers 5026, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Ernst Fehr & Simon Gaechter, . "Do Incentive Contracts Crowd out Voluntary Cooperation?," IEW - Working Papers 034, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  10. Alon Harel & Alon Klement, 2007. "The Economics of Stigma: Why More Detection of Crime May Result in Less Stigmatization," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(2), pages 355-377, 06.
  11. Richard H. McAdams & Eric B. Rasmusen, 2004. "Norms in Law and Economics," Working Papers 2004-11, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
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