Disappearing Defendants Versus Judgment-Proof Injurers

27 Pages Posted: 3 Feb 2005 Last revised: 7 Apr 2011

See all articles by Giuseppe Dari‐Mattiacci

Giuseppe Dari‐Mattiacci

Columbia University - Law School

Barbara Mangan

Utrecht University - School of Economics; Compuware B.V

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In this paper, we analyze two ways in which liability can be reduced: caps (the judgment proof problem) versus proportional reductions (the disappearing defendant problem). We show that these two problems have different incentive effects and hence yield dissimilar levels of social welfare. Moreover, when they occur simultaneously, they may have offsetting effects. We also show that the negligence rule with cause-in-fact may yield lower (rather than greater) levels of social welfare than strict liability. Finally, we analyze the optimal setting of the negligence standard. Our model encompasses different precaution technologies as well as monetary vs. non-monetary precautions.

Keywords: insolvency, judgment proof, strict liability, negligence, disappearing defendant

JEL Classification: K13, K32

Suggested Citation

Dari-Mattiacci, Giuseppe and Mangan, Barbara, Disappearing Defendants Versus Judgment-Proof Injurers. Economica, Vol. 75, No. 300, pp. 749-765, November 2008; George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 05-01. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=660743 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.660743

Giuseppe Dari-Mattiacci (Contact Author)

Columbia University - Law School ( email )

435 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10025
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.law.columbia.edu/faculty/giuseppe-dari-mattiacci

Barbara Mangan

Utrecht University - School of Economics ( email )

Kriekenpitplein 21-22
Adam Smith Building
Utrecht, 3584 EC

Compuware B.V

Hoogoorddreef 5
Bereken Route
1101 BA Amsterdam

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