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The Filtering Effect of Sharing Rules

32 Pages Posted: 11 Jun 2004  

Giuseppe Dari‐Mattiacci

Amsterdam Law School; Amsterdam Business School; Tinbergen Institute

Gerrit De Geest

Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law

Date Written: June 2004


Sharing rules have a filtering effect on violations: they prevent the most harmful violations and let the least harmful ones occur. We show under what conditions the filtering effect improves social welfare and argue that this may explain why, in most areas of the law, sharing rules are, in general, preferred to rules that entirely burden one party. Our analysis applies to comparative negligence, communal liability, the allocation of police investigation efforts, contract remedies for non-verifiable breaches such as those that may occur in marriage and employment contracts, and to the distribution of shares in partnerships.

Keywords: comparative negligence, law enforcement, divorce, employment contracts, theory of the firm

JEL Classification: K13

Suggested Citation

Dari‐Mattiacci, Giuseppe and De Geest, Gerrit, The Filtering Effect of Sharing Rules (June 2004). Journal of Legal Studies, Vol. 34, No. 1, January 2005; George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 04-24. Available at SSRN: or

Amsterdam Business School ( email )

Roetersstraat 18
Amsterdam, 1018WB

Tinbergen Institute

Gustav Mahlerplein 117
Amsterdam, 1082 MS

Gerrit De Geest

Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law ( email )

Campus Box 1120
St. Louis, MO 63130
United States
314-398-4941 (Phone)

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