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Relative Performance of Liability Rules: Experimental Evidence

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  • Angelova, Vera
  • Attanasi, Giuseppe Marco
  • Hiriart, Yolande

Abstract

We compare the performance of liability rules for managing environmental disasters when third parties are harmed and cannot always be compensated. A firm can invest in safety to reduce the likelihood of accidents. The firm’s investment is unobservable to authorities. Externality and asymmetric information call for public intervention to define rules aimed at increasing prevention. We determine the investment in safety under No Liability, Strict Liability and Negligence, and compare it to the first best. Additionally, we investigate how the (dis)ability of the firm to fully cover potential damages affects the firm’s behavior. An experiment tests the theoretical predictions. In line with theory, Strict Liability and Negligence are equally effective; both perform better than No Liability; investment in safety is not sensitive to the ability of the firm to compensate potential victims. In contrast with theory, prevention rates absent liability are much higher and liability is much less effective than predicted.

Suggested Citation

  • Angelova, Vera & Attanasi, Giuseppe Marco & Hiriart, Yolande, 2012. "Relative Performance of Liability Rules: Experimental Evidence," TSE Working Papers 12-304, Toulouse School of Economics (TSE), revised Sep 2012.
  • Handle: RePEc:tse:wpaper:25820
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    Cited by:

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    2. Bentata Pierre, 2013. "Environmental Regulation and Civil Liability Under Causal Uncertainty: An Empirical Study of the French Legal System," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 9(2), pages 239-263, October.
    3. Nicolas Lampach & Kene Boun My & Sandrine Spaeter, 2016. "Risk, Ambiguity and Efficient Liability Rules: An experiment," Working Papers of BETA 2016-30, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
    4. Christoph Rössler & Tim Friehe, 2020. "Liability, morality, and image concerns in product accidents with third parties," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 50(2), pages 295-312, October.
    5. Deffains, Bruno & Espinosa, Romain & Fluet, Claude, 2019. "Laws and norms: Experimental evidence with liability rules," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(C).
    6. Pierre Bentata, 2014. "Liability as a complement to environmental regulation: an empirical study of the French legal system," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Springer;Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 16(3), pages 201-228, July.
    7. Pierre Bentata & Karim Barkat, 2012. "Environmental Liability and Regulation: An Empirical Study of the French Institutional Division of Labour," CAE Working Papers 98, Aix-Marseille Université, CERGAM.
    8. Serge Garcia & Julien Jacob & Eve-Angéline Lambert, 2017. "Comparison of liability sharing rules for environmental damage: An experiment with different levels of solvency," Working Papers of BETA 2017-12, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
    9. Giuseppe Attanasi & Laura Concina & Caroline Kamaté & Valentina Rotondi, 2020. "Firm’s protection against disasters: are investment and insurance substitutes or complements?," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 88(1), pages 121-151, February.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Risk Regulation; Liability Rules; Incentives; Insolvency; Experiment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • K13 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Tort Law and Product Liability; Forensic Economics
    • K32 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Energy, Environmental, Health, and Safety Law
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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