Eisenberg and Engel, ‘Unpacking Negligence Liability: Experimentally Testing the Governance Effect’

Arguably, if a court holds a defendant liable for negligently inflicting harm on the plaintiff, this intervention combines three effects: (1) the court specifies the normative expectation, (2) the court expresses dissatisfaction with the plaintiff’s behavior, for example, her level of activity, and (3) the court obliges the defendant to compensate the plaintiff. In the field, it would be close to impossible to disentangle the three effects, or to investigate how they interact with intrinsic reticence to inflict harm on a passive outsider. We therefore go to the lab. We do not find an effect of intrinsic morality. However, the intervention has a separate significant effect on each of the three channels.

Eisenberg, Theodore and Engel, Christoph, Unpacking Negligence Liability: Experimentally Testing the Governance Effect (March 2016). Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, Vol 13, Issue 1, pp 116-152, 2016.

First posted 2016-02-10 04:51:22

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