Disappearing Defendants Versus Judgment-Proof Injurers
University of Amsterdam - Amsterdam Center for Law & Economics (ACLE); Tinbergen Institute
Utrecht University - Utrecht University School of Economics; Compuware B.V
Economica, Vol. 75, No. 300, pp. 749-765, November 2008
George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 05-01
In this paper, we analyze two ways in which liability can be reduced: caps (the judgment proof problem) versus proportional reductions (the disappearing defendant problem). We show that these two problems have different incentive effects and hence yield dissimilar levels of social welfare. Moreover, when they occur simultaneously, they may have offsetting effects. We also show that the negligence rule with cause-in-fact may yield lower (rather than greater) levels of social welfare than strict liability. Finally, we analyze the optimal setting of the negligence standard. Our model encompasses different precaution technologies as well as monetary vs. non-monetary precautions.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 27
Keywords: insolvency, judgment proof, strict liability, negligence, disappearing defendant
JEL Classification: K13, K32
Date posted: February 3, 2005 ; Last revised: April 7, 2011
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