Laws and Norms: Experimental Evidence with Liability Rules

CRREP working paper serie 2017-05

26 Pages Posted: 22 May 2018

See all articles by Bruno Deffains

Bruno Deffains

Université Paris II - Panthéon-Assas; Institut Universitaire de France

Romain Espinosa

CIRED, International Research Center on Environment & Development, France

Claude Fluet

Université Laval

Date Written: June 01, 2017

Abstract

We conduct an experiment where participants choose between actions that provide private benefits but may also impose losses on strangers. Three legal environments are compared: no law, strict liability for the harm caused to others, and an efficiently designed negligence rule where damages are paid only when the harmful action causes a net social loss. Legal obligations are either perfectly enforced (Severe Law) or only weakly so (Mild Law), i.e., material incentives are then nondeterrent. We investigate how legal obligations and social norms interact. Our results show that liability rules strengthen pro-social behavior and suggest that strict liability has a greater effect than the negligence rule.

Keywords: Behavioral law and economics, liability rules, Social norms, social preferences, legal norms

JEL Classification: C91, K13, D03

Suggested Citation

Deffains, Bruno and Espinosa, Romain and Fluet, Claude-Denys, Laws and Norms: Experimental Evidence with Liability Rules (June 01, 2017). CRREP working paper serie 2017-05, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3175321 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3175321

Bruno Deffains

Université Paris II - Panthéon-Assas ( email )

12 place du Pantheon
Paris cedex 05, 75005
France

Institut Universitaire de France ( email )

103, bld Saint-Michel
75005 Paris
France

Romain Espinosa

CIRED, International Research Center on Environment & Development, France ( email )

Campus du Jardin Tropical
45 bis avenue de la Belle Gabrielle
F94736 Nogent sur Marne Cedex
France

HOME PAGE: http://https://romainespinosa.com

Claude-Denys Fluet (Contact Author)

Université Laval ( email )

2214 Pavillon J-A. DeSeve
Quebec, Quebec G1K 7P4
Canada
1-418-656-2131, ext 3290 (Phone)

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