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Caution, children crossing: Heterogeneity of victim's cost of care and negligence rule

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Abstract

The paper deals with a bilateral accident situation in which victims have heterogeneous costs of care. With perfect information,efficient care by the injurer raises with the victim's cost. When the injurer cannot observe at all the victim's type, and this fact can be verified by Courts, first-best cannot be implemented with the use of a negligence rule based on the first-best levels of care. Second-best leads the injurer to intermediate care, and the two types of victims to choose the best response to it. This second-best solution can be easily implemented by a negligence rule with second-best as due care. We explore imperfect observation of the victim's type, characterizing the optimal solution and examining the different legal alternatives when Courts cannot verify the injurers' statements. Counterintuitively, we show that there is no difference at all between the use by Courts of a rule of complete trust and a rule of complete distrust towards the injurers' statements. We then relate the findings of the model to existing rules and doctrines in Common Law and Civil Law legal systems.

Suggested Citation

  • Juan José Ganuza & Fernando Gómez, 2002. "Caution, children crossing: Heterogeneity of victim's cost of care and negligence rule," Economics Working Papers 666, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  • Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:666
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    1. Steven Shavell, 2003. "Economic Analysis of Accident Law," NBER Working Papers 9694, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Arlen, Jennifer H, 1992. "Should Defendants' Wealth Matter?," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 413-429, June.
    3. Kaplow, Louis & Shavell, Steven, 2000. "Should Legal Rules Favor the Poor? Clarifying the Role of Legal Rules and the Income Tax in Redistributing Income," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(2), pages 821-835, June.
    4. Sanchirico, Chris William, 2000. "Taxes versus Legal Rules as Instruments for Equity: A More Equitable View," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(2), pages 797-820, June.
    5. Kaplow, Louis & Shavell, Steven, 1994. "Why the Legal System Is Less Efficient Than the Income Tax in Redistributing Income," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(2), pages 667-681, June.
    6. Kaplow, Louis & Shavell, Steven, 1996. "Accuracy in the Assessment of Damages," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 39(1), pages 191-210, April.
    7. Miceli, Thomas J., 1997. "Economics of the Law: Torts, Contracts, Property, Litigation," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195103908.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ganuza, Juan Jose & Gomez, Fernando, 2007. "Should we trust the gatekeepers?: Auditors' and lawyers' liability for clients' misconduct," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 96-109, March.
    2. Tim Friehe, 2008. "On judgment proofness in the case of bilateral harm," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 26(2), pages 175-185, October.
    3. Tim Friehe, 2007. "On the incentive effects of damage averaging in tort law," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 11(2), pages 1-7.
    4. Guerra, Alice & Hlobil, Tobias M., 2015. "Tailoring Negligence Standards to Accident Records," MPRA Paper 66281, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:11:y:2007:i:2:p:1-7 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Juan José Ganuza & Fernando Gómez, 2003. "Optimal negligence rule under limited liability," Economics Working Papers 759, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised May 2004.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Imperfect information; negligence rule; accidents; heterogeneous victims;

    JEL classification:

    • K13 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Tort Law and Product Liability; Forensic Economics
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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