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Law and Economics

University of Pennsylvania Law School

Canonical model of the interaction between insurance and tort liability

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The Law And Economics Of Liability Insurance: A Theoretical And Empirical Review, Tom Baker, Peter Siegelman Nov 2011

The Law And Economics Of Liability Insurance: A Theoretical And Empirical Review, Tom Baker, Peter Siegelman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

We survey the theoretical and empirical literature on the law and economics of liability insurance. The canonical Shavell model predicts that, despite the presence of some ex ante moral hazard (care-reduction by insureds), liability insurance will generally raise welfare because its risk-spreading gains will likely be larger than its adverse effects on precautionary activities. We discuss the numerous features of liability insurance contracts that are designed to reduce ex ante moral hazard, and examine the evidence of their effects. Most studies conclude that these features work reasonably well, so that liability insurance probably does not generate substantial ex ante moral ...