Technology & Torts: A Theory of Memory Costs, Nondurable Precautions and Interference Effects
University of California Hastings College of Law; Ghent University - Center for Advanced Studies in Law & Economics
Jef De Mot
Ghent University-Universiteit Gent - Faculty of Law
July 17, 2008
University of Miami Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2008-37
This Article examines the influence of nondurable precaution technologies on the expansion of tort awards. We provide four contributions to the literature. First, we present a general, formal model on durable and non-durable precaution technology that focuses on memory costs. Second, because liability exposure creates interference, we argue that tort law perpetuates the expansion of awards. Third, because plaintiffs do not consider the social costs of interference effects, private litigation induces socially excessive suits. Fourth, while new harm-reducing technologies likely increase accident rates, such technologies also raise the ratio of trial costs to harm, leaving undetermined the overall effect of new technologies on the rate of litigation.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 20
Keywords: tort law, tort award, precaution, technology
JEL Classification: D72, F02, K34
Date posted: July 17, 2008 ; Last revised: November 12, 2012
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