Negligence and Two-Sided Causation

23 Pages Posted: 29 Nov 2013 Last revised: 6 Apr 2015

See all articles by Keith N. Hylton

Keith N. Hylton

Boston University - School of Law

Haizhen Lin

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

Hyo-Youn Chu

College of International Studies, Kyung Hee University

Date Written: January 2015

Abstract

We extend the economic analysis of negligence and intervening causation to “two-sided causation” scenarios. In the two-sided causation scenario the effectiveness of the injurer’s care depends on some intervention, and the risk of harm generated by the injurer’s failure to take care depends on some other intervention. We find that the distortion from socially optimal care is more severe in the two-sided causation scenario than in the one-sided causation scenario, and generally in the direction of excessive care. The practical lesson is that the likelihood that injurers will have optimal care incentives under the negligence test in the presence of intervening causal factors is low.

Keywords: negligence, causation, proximate cause, intervening causal factor, optimal care

JEL Classification: K00, K13

Suggested Citation

Hylton, Keith N. and Lin, Haizhen and Chu, Hyo-Youn, Negligence and Two-Sided Causation (January 2015). Forthcoming, European Journal of Law and Economics; Boston Univ. School of Law, Law and Economics Research Paper No. 13-50; Kelley School of Business Research Paper No. 15-30. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2360269 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2360269

Keith N. 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

Hyo-Youn Chu

College of International Studies, Kyung Hee University ( email )

International Studies Building #301
Deogyeong-daero, Giheung-Gu
Yongin-Si, Gyeonggi-Do 446701
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)
82-31-201-3882 (Phone)
82-31-201-2281 (Fax)

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