Information and Causation in Tort Law: Generalizing the Learned Hand Test for Causation Cases

Boston Univ. School of Law, Law and Economics Research Paper No. 15-26

Forthcoming, Journal of Tort Law (causation symposium)

27 Pages Posted: 9 Jul 2015 Last revised: 30 Oct 2015

See all articles by Keith N. Hylton

Keith N. Hylton

Boston University - School of Law

Date Written: September 2015

Abstract

This paper discusses the economics of causation in tort law, describing precise implications for precautionary incentives when courts are and are not perfectly informed. With precautionary incentives identified, we can ask whether the causation inquiry enhances welfare, and if so under what conditions. Perhaps the most important innovation applies to the Hand Formula. When causation is an issue, the probability of causal intervention should be part of the Hand test, and the generalized Hand test offers a method of distinguishing significant classes of causation cases. I close with implications for the moral significance of causation and for economic analysis of tort law.

Keywords: causation, negligence, Learned Hand Formula, proximate cause, intervening casual factor, optimal care, economics of negligence

JEL Classification: K13, K40

Suggested Citation

Hylton, Keith N., Information and Causation in Tort Law: Generalizing the Learned Hand Test for Causation Cases (September 2015). Boston Univ. School of Law, Law and Economics Research Paper No. 15-26. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2628321 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2628321

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)

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