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Torts and the Protection of "Legally Recognized" Interests

  • Hoffmann, Sandra

    ()

    (Resources for the Future)

  • Hanemann, W. Michael

The law of torts plays an important role in completing the legal property rights system by defining the extent to which property is protected from harm. It does this by defining the kinds of interests that will be recognized and protected from harm by the courts, the duty of care owed these recognized interests by others, and the manner in which they will be protected through monetary compensation, restitution, or injunction. Together, these three elements of torts define a right in the “bundle of rights” that constitute property. In this paper, we develop a systematic approach to formalizing the nature of the property rights protected by tort law. We use this approach to reexamine the literature on compensation for nonpecuniary damages. This reexamination demonstrates how recognizing tort’s role in defining property rights and having a way of formalizing these rights can provide deeper insight into old questions torts scholarship.

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Paper provided by Resources For the Future in its series Discussion Papers with number dp-05-21.

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Date of creation: 11 Aug 2005
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Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-05-21
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  1. Clive D. Fraser, . "On Tort as an Implicit Insurance System with State-Dependent Utility. The Case of Child Mortality Risk," Discussion Papers in Public Sector Economics 96/4, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
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  9. Guth, Werner & Schmittberger, Rolf & Schwarze, Bernd, 1982. "An experimental analysis of ultimatum bargaining," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 367-388, December.
  10. Viscusi, W Kip & Evans, William N, 1990. "Utility Functions That Depend on Health Status: Estimates and Economic Implications," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 353-74, June.
  11. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard, 1986. "Fairness as a Constraint on Profit Seeking: Entitlements in the Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 728-41, September.
  12. John C. Harsanyi, 1955. "Cardinal Welfare, Individualistic Ethics, and Interpersonal Comparisons of Utility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 63, pages 309.
  13. Walter Y. Oi, 1973. "The Economics of Product Safety," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 4(1), pages 3-28, Spring.
  14. Calfee, John E & Rubin, Paul H, 1992. "Some Implications of Damage Payments for Nonpecuniary Losses," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 371-411, June.
  15. Knetsch, Jack L, 1989. "The Endowment Effect and Evidence of Nonreversible Indifference Curves," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 1277-84, December.
  16. Samuelson, William & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1988. " Status Quo Bias in Decision Making," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 7-59, March.
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