Behavioral Economics and Tort Law

The Oxford Handbook of Behavioral Economics and the Law (Eyal Zamir & Doron Teichman eds., 2014)

Hebrew University of Jerusalem Legal Research Paper No. 02-15

50 Pages Posted: 17 Sep 2014 Last revised: 13 May 2015

See all articles by Yoed Halbersberg

Yoed Halbersberg

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - i-Core Center for Empirical Studies of Decision Making and the Law; Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Faculty of Law

Ehud Guttel

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Faculty of Law

Date Written: September 1, 2014

Abstract

The chapter, in the Oxford Handbook of Behavioral Economics and the Law, discusses the contributions of cognitive psychology and behavioral studies to the research of tort law. These contributions, we show, relate to a wide range of issues in torts: from the basic decision to impose tort liability, through the choice between liability rules, to specific rules and remedies. Accordingly, behavioral studies are of particular significance for the analysis of the tort system.

The literature review focuses on contributions made to three key elements of tort law: the choice between liability regimes; the choice between tort liability and regulation (including the choice between harm-based and risk-based liability); and damages (in particular, punitive damages and damages for pain and suffering).

We also offer two new avenues for future research: vicarious liability and people's perceptions of the variability among large groups of tort victims. Albeit under-researched, we think behavioral economics can offer significant contributions to the study of these areas.

Keywords: torts, damages, behavioral economics, cognitive biases, liability regimes, regulation, punitive damages, pain and suffering, outgroup homogeneity bias, vicarious liability

JEL Classification: A12, C91, C92, D70, D72, D78, K13, K20, K32

Suggested Citation

Halbersberg, Yoed and Guttel, Ehud, Behavioral Economics and Tort Law (September 1, 2014). The Oxford Handbook of Behavioral Economics and the Law (Eyal Zamir & Doron Teichman eds., 2014) ; Hebrew University of Jerusalem Legal Research Paper No. 02-15. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2496786

Yoed Halbersberg (Contact Author)

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - i-Core Center for Empirical Studies of Decision Making and the Law ( email )

Mount Scopus
Jerusalem, IL Jerusalem 91905
Israel

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Faculty of Law ( email )

Mount Scopus
Mount Scopus, IL 91905
Israel

Ehud Guttel

Hebrew University of Jerusalem - Faculty of Law ( email )

Mount Scopus
Mount Scopus, IL 91905
Israel

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