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Caution, children crossing: Heterogeneity of victim's cost of care and negligence rule
Ganuza, Juan José; Gómez, Fernando
Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Departament d'Economia i Empresa
The paper deals with a bilateral accident situation in which victims haveheterogeneous costs of care. With perfect information,efficient care bythe injurer raises with the victim's cost. When the injurer cannot observeat all the victim's type, and this fact can be verified by Courts, first-bestcannot be implemented with the use of a negligence rule based on thefirst-best levels of care. Second-best leads the injurer to intermediate care,and the two types of victims to choose the best response to it. This second-bestsolution can be easily implemented by a negligence rule with second-best as duecare. We explore imperfect observation of the victim's type, characterizing theoptimal solution and examining the different legal alternatives when Courts cannotverify the injurers' statements. Counterintuitively, we show that there is nodifference at all between the use by Courts of a rule of complete trust and arule of complete distrust towards the injurers' statements. We then relate thefindings of the model to existing rules and doctrines in Common Law and Civil Lawlegal systems.
Business Economics and Industrial Organization
imperfect information
negligence rule
heterogeneous victims
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