Boston University School of Law

Negligence, Causation, and Incentives for Care


Keith N. Hylton and Haizhin Lin
Boston University School of Law Working Paper 11-15

Abstract

We present a new model of negligence and causation and examine the influence of the negligence test, in the presence of intervening causation, on the level of care.  In this model, the injurer’s decision to take care reduces the likelihood of an accident only in the event that some nondeterministic intervention occurs.  The effects of the negligence test depend on the information available to the court, and the manner in which the test is implemented.  The key effect of the negligence test, in the presence of intervening causation, is to induce actors to take into account the distribution of the intervention probability as well as its expected value.  In the most plausible scenario – where courts have limited information – the test generally leads to socially excessive care.

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Suggested Citation:

Hylton, Keith N. and Lin, Haizhen, "Negligence, Causation, and Incentives for Care," B.U. Law Working Paper 11-15 (March 24, 2011).

Contact Information

Keith N. Hylton

Boston University School of Law
765 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215

E-Mail: knhylton@bu.edu

Haizhen Lin
Assistant Professor of Business Economics
Indiana University, Bloomington
Kelley School of Business

E-Mail: hzlin@indiana.edu

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