Welfare Implications of Costly Litigation Under Strict Liability
37 Pages Posted: 29 Oct 1999
Date Written: August 30, 1999
This paper examines a model of strict liability with costly litigation, and presents the conditions under which: (1) potential injurers take optimal precautions, (2) increasing litigation costs enhance precaution and social welfare, (3) the optimal level of liability exceeds the compensatory level, and (4) increasing the rate of settlement increases social welfare. The results have implications for controversies surrounding optimal damage awards (e.g., punitive versus compensatory), fee shifting, and the desirability of settlement.
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