Multiple Causes and Stacked Inferences
176 J. of Institutional and Theoretical Economics 54 (2020)
2 Pages Posted: 29 Jul 2020
Date Written: July 23, 2020
When the accident is a mystery — when it is not clear what happened — courts often rely on stacked inferences. Such inferences are subject to much debate and are even prohibited by some jurisdictions. This Article reveals that the doctrine of res ipsa loquitur (“the thing speaks for itself”) is a form of stacked inferences and that despite its affiliation, it has been widely accepted. The Article further shows that application of res ipsa loquitur in cases involving multiple actors can adversely affect precaution and activity levels. It concludes with a call for a careful application of res ipsa loquitur in cases involving multiple actors.
Keywords: stacked inferences, false positives, deterrence, collusion, indemnity, game theory, medical malpractice
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