Halbersberg and Guttel, ‘Behavioral Economics and Tort Law’

The chapter, forthcoming in the Oxford Handbook of Behavioral Economics and the Law, discusses the contributions of cognitive psychology and behavioral studies to the research of tort law. These contributions, we show, relate to a wide range of issues in torts: from the basic decision to impose tort liability, through the choice between liability rules, to specific rules and remedies. Accordingly, behavioral studies are of particular significance for the analysis of the tort system.

The literature review focuses on contributions made to three key elements of tort law: the choice between liability regimes; the choice between tort liability and regulation (including the choice between harm-based and risk-based liability); and damages (in particular, punitive damages and damages for pain and suffering).

We also offer two new avenues for future research: vicarious liability and people’s perceptions of the variability among large groups of tort victims. Albeit under-researched, we think behavioral economics can offer significant contributions to the study of these areas.

Halbersberg, Yoed and Guttel, Ehud, Behavioral Economics and Tort Law (September 2014). The Oxford Handbook of Behavioral Economics and the Law (Eyal Zamir and Doron Teichman eds, 2014 forthcoming).

First posted 2014-09-18 07:14:57

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