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Vicarious Liability and the Intensity Principle

Author

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  • Schweizer, Urs

Abstract

The present paper provides an economic analysis of vicarious liability that takes information rents and monitoring costs to be borne by the principal explicitly into account. In the presence of information rents or if the principal is wealth constrained herself, vicarious liability need not generate efficient precaution incentives. Rather, precaution incentives turn out to depend on the exact quantum of damages specified by courts. I shall compare incentives under three damages regimes: strict liability, the traditional negligence rule, and proportional liability. To do so, I make use of the intensity principle that allows to rank damages regimes based on the monotonicity of differences of the principal's expected payof f as a function of induced precaution.

Suggested Citation

  • Schweizer, Urs, 2011. "Vicarious Liability and the Intensity Principle," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 364, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:trf:wpaper:364
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    File URL: https://epub.ub.uni-muenchen.de/13190/1/364.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. T. Randolph Beard, 1990. "Bankruptcy and Care Choice," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(4), pages 626-634, Winter.
    2. Demougin, Dominique & Fluet, Claude, 1999. "A further justification for the negligence rule," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 33-45, March.
    3. Stremitzer, Alexander & Tabbach, Avraham, 2009. "Insolvency and Biased Standards - The Case for Proportional Liability," Discussion Paper Series of SFB/TR 15 Governance and the Efficiency of Economic Systems 289, Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, University of Bonn, University of Mannheim, University of Munich.
    4. Kahan, Marcel, 1989. "Causation and Incentives to Take Care under the Negligence Rule," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(2), pages 427-447, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    vicarious liability; precaution incentives; judgement-proof principals and agents; discrepancy between private and social costs;

    JEL classification:

    • K13 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Tort Law and Product Liability; Forensic Economics
    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities

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