Some Notes on Property Rules, Liability Rules, and Criminal Law
Keith N. Hylton
William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professor, Boston University; Professor of Law, Boston University School of Law
July 27, 2010
RESEARCH HANDBOOK ON THE ECONOMICS OF CRIMINAL LAW, A. Harel, K. Hylton, eds., Edward Elgar, 2011
Boston University School of Law, Law and Economics Research Paper Series, No. 10-21
The property-liability rules framework, which offers a robust positive theory of criminal law, has come under attack in recent years. One critique, which I label the Indifference Proposition, argues that property rules and liability rules are equivalent in low transaction cost settings. In this paper I examine the conditions under which the Indifference Proposition is valid. In several plausible low transaction-cost settings the proposition is not valid.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 35
Keywords: property rules, liability rules, criminal law, transaction costs, bounded rationality, predation, defensive conduct
JEL Classification: K00, K11, K14, K39, K42Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: July 27, 2010 ; Last revised: July 9, 2011
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