The Law and Economics of Products Liability
Keith N. Hylton
William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professor, Boston University; Professor of Law, Boston University School of Law
July 25, 2012
Boston Univ. School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 12-39
Boston Univ. School of Law, Law and Economics Research Paper No. 12-39
This paper presents a largely positive analysis of products liability law, in the sense that it aims to predict the incentive effects and the welfare consequences of the law, with close regard to its specific legal tests and the real-world constraints that impinge on these tests. The other major part of this paper is a normative assessment of the parts of products liability law that should be reformed. In contrast with the prevailing law and economics literature suggesting that products liability law reduces social welfare, I argue that the law probably improves social welfare, though it is in need of reform in several respects.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 52
Keywords: products liability, strict liability, risk utility, consumer expectations, design defect, manufacturing defect, failure to warn
JEL Classification: K00, K13working papers series
Date posted: July 25, 2012
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