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Negligence, Causation, and Incentives for Care

28 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2011 Last revised: 13 May 2014

Keith N. Hylton

Boston University - School of Law

Haizhen Lin

Indiana University - Kelley School of Business - Department of Business Economics & Public Policy

Date Written: April 30, 2013

Abstract

We present a new model of negligence and causation and examine the influence of the negligence test, in the presence of intervening causation, on the level of care. In this model, the injurer’s decision to take care reduces the likelihood of an accident only in the event that some nondeterministic intervention occurs. The effects of the negligence test depend on the information available to the court, and the manner in which the test is implemented. The key effect of the negligence test, in the presence of intervening causation, is to induce actors to take into account the distribution of the intervention probability as well as its expected value. In the most plausible scenario – where courts have limited information – the test generally leads to socially excessive care.

Keywords: negligence, causation, proximate cause, factual causation, ex post negligence, optimal care

JEL Classification: D81, K00, K13, K41

Suggested Citation

Hylton, Keith N. and Lin, Haizhen, Negligence, Causation, and Incentives for Care (April 30, 2013). Boston Univ. School of Law Working Paper No. 11-15. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1793973 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1793973

Keith Hylton (Contact Author)

Boston University - School of Law ( email )

765 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States
617-353-8959 (Phone)
617-353-3077 (Fax)

Haizhen Lin

Indiana University - Kelley School of Business - Department of Business Economics & Public Policy ( email )

Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

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