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Full-Text Articles in Law

The Social Cost Of Contract, David A. Hoffman, Cathy Hwang Jun 2020

The Social Cost Of Contract, David A. Hoffman, Cathy Hwang

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

When private parties perform contracts, the public bears some of the costs. But what happens when society confronts unexpected contractual risks? During the COVID-19 pandemic, completing particular contracts—such as following through with weddings, conferences, and other large gatherings—will greatly increase the risk of rapidly spreading disease. A close reading of past cases illustrates that when social hazards sharply increase after formation, courts have sometimes rejected, reformed, and reinterpreted contracts so that parties who breach to reduce external harms are not left holding the bag.

This Essay builds on that observation in making two contributions. Theoretically, it characterizes contracts ...


The Paradox Of Insurance, Gideon Parchomovsky, Peter Siegelman Mar 2020

The Paradox Of Insurance, Gideon Parchomovsky, Peter Siegelman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In this Article, we uncover a paradoxical phenomenon that has hitherto largely escaped the attention of legal scholars and economists, yet it has far-reaching implications for insurance law: loss-creation by uninsured parties caused by the presence of insurance. Contrary to the conventional wisdom, we show that insurance can create significant negative externalities by inducing third parties to engage in antisocial, illegal and unethical activities in order to extract money from insureds or insurers. Moreover, as the amount and scope of insurance grows, so does its distortionary effect on third parties. We term this phenomenon the paradox of insurance. The risk ...


Mutually Assured Protection Among Large U.S. Law Firms, Tom Baker, Rick Swedloff Jan 2017

Mutually Assured Protection Among Large U.S. Law Firms, Tom Baker, Rick Swedloff

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Top law firms are notoriously competitive, fighting for prime clients and matters. But some of the most elite firms are also deeply cooperative, willingly sharing key details about their finances and strategy with their rivals. More surprisingly, they pay handsomely to do so. Nearly half of the AmLaw 100 and 200 belong to mutual insurance organizations that require member firms to provide capital; partner time; and important information about their governance, balance sheets, risk management, strategic plans, and malpractice liability. To answer why these firms do so when there are commercial insurers willing to provide coverage with fewer burdens, we ...


Risk And Regulatory Calibration: Wto Compliance Review Of The U.S. Dolphin-Safe Tuna Labeling Regime, Cary Coglianese, André Sapir Jan 2017

Risk And Regulatory Calibration: Wto Compliance Review Of The U.S. Dolphin-Safe Tuna Labeling Regime, Cary Coglianese, André Sapir

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In a series of recent disputes arising under the TBT Agreement, the Appellate Body has interpreted Article 2.1 to provide that discriminatory and trade-distortive regulation could be permissible if based upon a “legitimate regulatory distinction.” In its recent compliance decision in the US-Tuna II dispute, the AB reaffirmed its view that regulatory distinctions embedded in the U.S. dolphin-safe tuna labeling regime were not legitimate because they were not sufficiently calibrated to the risks to dolphins associated with different tuna fishing conditions. This paper analyzes the AB’s application of the notion of risk-based regulation in the US-Tuna II ...


In Defense Of The Restatement Of Liability Insurance Law, Tom Baker, Kyle D. Logue Jan 2017

In Defense Of The Restatement Of Liability Insurance Law, Tom Baker, Kyle D. Logue

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

For most non-contractual legal claims for damages that are brought against individuals or firms, there is some form of liability insurance coverage. The Restatement of the Law Liability Insurance is the American Law Institute’s first effort to “restate” the common law governing such liability insurance policies, and we are the reporters. In a recent essay funded by the insurance industry, Yale Law Professor George Priest launched a strident critique of the Restatement project, arguing that the rules adopted in the Restatement:

(a) are radically contrary to existing case law,

(b) have a naïve “pro-policyholder” bias that ignores basic economic ...


Reimagining The Risk Of Long-Term Care, Allison K. Hoffman Jan 2016

Reimagining The Risk Of Long-Term Care, Allison K. Hoffman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

U.S. law and policy on long-term care fail to address the insecurity American families face due to prolonged illness and disability — a problem that grows more serious as the population ages and rates of disability rise. This Article argues that, even worse, we have focused on only part of the problem. It illuminates two ways that prolonged disability or illness can create insecurity. The first arises from the risk of becoming disabled or sick and needing long-term care, which could be called “care-recipient” risk. The second arises out of the risk of becoming responsible for someone else’s care ...


Natural Disasters, Nuclear Disasters, And Global Governance, Eric A. Feldman, Chelsea Fish Jun 2015

Natural Disasters, Nuclear Disasters, And Global Governance, Eric A. Feldman, Chelsea Fish

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This chapter uses the analytical framework of transnational legal ordering (TLO) developed by Halliday and Shaffer and applies it to the area of law and disasters. In contrast to the increasingly transnational legal nature of social ordering highlighted by Halliday and Shaffer, it argues that the emergence of transnational regulatory networks and cross-border principles or policies in the area of disaster management has been uneven and incomplete. Although there are many factors that help to explain why the law/disasters area has resisted the trend toward “transnationalization,” two stand out. One is the relative dearth of national laws and policies ...


Discounting And Criminals' Implied Risk Preferences, Murat C. Mungan, Jonathan Klick Jan 2015

Discounting And Criminals' Implied Risk Preferences, Murat C. Mungan, Jonathan Klick

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

It is commonly assumed that potential offenders are more responsive to increases in the certainty than increases in the severity of punishment. An important implication of this assumption within the Beckerian law enforcement model is that criminals are risk-seeking. This note adds to existing literature by showing that offenders who discount future monetary benefits can be more responsive to the certainty rather than the severity of punishment, even when they are risk averse, and even when their disutility from imprisonment rises proportionally (or more than proportionally) with the length of the sentence.


Behaviorism In Finance And Securities Law, David A. Skeel Jr. Jan 2014

Behaviorism In Finance And Securities Law, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In this Essay, I take stock (as something of an outsider) of the behavioral economics movement, focusing in particular on its interaction with traditional cost-benefit analysis and its implications for agency structure. The usual strategy for such a project—a strategy that has been used by others with behavioral economics—is to marshal the existing evidence and critically assess its significance. My approach in this Essay is somewhat different. Although I describe behavioral economics and summarize the strongest criticisms of its use, the heart of the Essay is inductive, and focuses on a particular context: financial and securities regulation, as ...


Regulation By Liability Insurance: From Auto To Lawyers Professional Liability, Tom Baker, Rick Swedloff Jan 2013

Regulation By Liability Insurance: From Auto To Lawyers Professional Liability, Tom Baker, Rick Swedloff

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Liability insurers use a variety of tools to address adverse selection and moral hazard in insurance relationships. These tools can act on insureds in a manner that can be understood as regulation. We identify seven categories of such regulatory activities: risk-based pricing, underwriting, contract design, claims management, loss prevention services, research and education, and engagement with public regulators. We describe these activities in general terms and then draw upon prior literature to explore them in the context of five areas of liability and corresponding insurance: shareholder liability, auto liability, gun liability, medical professional liability, and lawyers’ professional liability. The goal ...


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 ...


Rights-Based Theories Of Accident Law, Gregory J. Hall Aug 2011

Rights-Based Theories Of Accident Law, Gregory J. Hall

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This article shows that extant rights-based theories of accident law contain a gaping hole. They inadequately address the following question: What justifies using community standards to assign accident costs in tort law?

In the United States, the jury determines negligence for accidental harm by asking whether the defendant met the objective reasonable person standard. However, what determines the content of the reasonable person standard is enigmatic. Some tort theorists say that the content is filled out by juries using cost benefit analysis while others say that juries apply community norms and conventions. I demonstrate that what is missing from this ...


Making Sense Of The New Financial Deal, David A. Skeel Jr. Apr 2011

Making Sense Of The New Financial Deal, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In this Essay, I assess the enactment and implications of the Dodd-Frank Act, Congress’s response to the 2008 financial crisis. To set the stage, I begin by very briefly reviewing the causes of the crisis. I then argue that the legislation has two very clear objectives. The first is to limit the risk of the shadow banking system by more carefully regulating the key instruments and institutions of contemporary finance. The second objective is to limit the damage in the event one of these giant institutions fails. While the new regulation of the instruments of contemporary finance—including clearing ...


The Shifting Terrain Of Risk And Uncertainty On The Liability Insurance Field, Tom Baker Feb 2011

The Shifting Terrain Of Risk And Uncertainty On The Liability Insurance Field, Tom Baker

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Recent sociological and historical work suggests that insurance risks often are not reliably calculable, except in hindsight. Insurance is “an uncertain business,” characterized by competition for premiums that pushes insurers into the unknown. This essay takes some preliminary steps that extend this insight into the liability insurance field. The essay first provides a simple quantitative comparison of U.S. property and liability insurance premiums over the last sixty years, setting the stage to make three points: (1) liability insurance premiums have grown at a similar rate as property insurance premiums and GDP over this period, providing yet another piece of ...


Managing Moral Risk: The Case Of Contract, Aditi Bagchi Jan 2011

Managing Moral Risk: The Case Of Contract, Aditi Bagchi

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The concept of moral luck describes how the moral character of our actions seems to depend on factors outside our control. Implications of moral luck have been extensively explored in criminal law and tort law, but there is no literature on moral luck in contract law. I show that contract is an especially illuminating domain for the study of moral luck because it highlights that moral luck is not just a dark cloud over morality and the law to bemoan or ignore. We anticipate moral luck, i.e., we manage our moral risk, when we take into account the possibility ...


Inside-Out Corporate Governance, David A. Skeel Jr., Vijit Chahar, Alexander Clark, Mia Howard, Bijun Huang, Federico Lasconi, A.G. Leventhal, Matthew Makover, Randi Milgrim, David Payne, Romy Rahme, Nikki Sachdeva, Zachary Scott Jan 2011

Inside-Out Corporate Governance, David A. Skeel Jr., Vijit Chahar, Alexander Clark, Mia Howard, Bijun Huang, Federico Lasconi, A.G. Leventhal, Matthew Makover, Randi Milgrim, David Payne, Romy Rahme, Nikki Sachdeva, Zachary Scott

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Until late in the twentieth century, internal corporate governance—that is, decision making by the principal constituencies of the firm—was clearly distinct from outside oversight by regulators, auditors and credit rating agencies, and markets. With the 1980s takeover wave and hedge funds’ and equity funds’ more recent involvement in corporate governance, the distinction between inside and outside governance has eroded. The tools of inside governance are now routinely employed by governance outsiders, intertwining the two traditional modes of governance. We argue in this Article that the shift has created a new governance paradigm, which we call inside-out corporate governance ...


Insurance In Sociolegal Research, Tom Baker May 2010

Insurance In Sociolegal Research, Tom Baker

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Insurance has a long history in sociolegal research, most prominently as a window on accident compensation and related tort law in action. Recent work has extended that research, with the result that tort law in action may be the best mapped of any legal field outside criminal law. Sociological research has begun to explore insurance as a form of governance, with effects in many legal fields and across the economy. This essay reviews developments in both bodies of work. Part one examines the relationship between liability insurance and tort law in action using the metaphors of window and frame. Part ...


Tontines For The Invincibles: Enticing Low Risks Into The Health-Insurance Pool With An Idea From Insurance History And Behavioral Economics, Tom Baker, Peter Siegelman Jan 2010

Tontines For The Invincibles: Enticing Low Risks Into The Health-Insurance Pool With An Idea From Insurance History And Behavioral Economics, Tom Baker, Peter Siegelman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Over one third of the uninsured adults in the U.S. below retirement age are between 19 and 29 years old. Young adults, especially men, often go without insurance, even when buying it is mandatory and sometimes even when it is a low cost employment benefit. This paper proposes a new form of health insurance targeted at this group—the “Young Invincibles”—those who (wrongly) believe that they don’t need health insurance because they won’t get sick. Our proposal offers a cash bonus to those who turn out to be right in their belief that they did not ...


State Finance In Times Of Crisis, Brian Galle, Jonathan Klick Sep 2009

State Finance In Times Of Crisis, Brian Galle, Jonathan Klick

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

As recent events illustrate, state finances are pro-cyclical: during recessions, state revenues crash, worsening the effects of economic downturns. This problem is well-known, yet persistent. We argue here that, in light of predictable federalism and political economy dynamics, states will be unable to change this situation on their own. Additionally, we note that many possible federal remedies may result in worse problems, such as creating moral hazard that would induce states to take on excessively risky policy, both fiscal and otherwise. Thus, we argue that policy makers should consider so-called “automatic” stabilizers, such as are found in the federal tax ...


Risk Equity: A New Proposal, Matthew D. Adler Jan 2008

Risk Equity: A New Proposal, Matthew D. Adler

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

What does distributive justice require of risk regulators? Various executive orders enjoin health and safety regulators to take account of “distributive impacts,” “equity,” or “environmental justice,” and many scholars endorse these requirements. But concrete methodologies for evaluating the equity effects of risk regulation policies remain undeveloped. The contrast with cost-benefit analysis--now a very well developed set of techniques --is stark. Equity analysis by governmental agencies that regulate health and safety risks, at least in the United States, lacks rigor and structure. This Article proposes a rigorous framework for risk-equity analysis, which I term “probabilistic population profile analysis” (PPPA). PPPA is ...


Predicting Corporate Governance Risk: Evidence From The Directors' & Officers' Liability Insurance Market, Tom Baker, Sean J. Griffith Jan 2007

Predicting Corporate Governance Risk: Evidence From The Directors' & Officers' Liability Insurance Market, Tom Baker, Sean J. Griffith

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


Does Analyst Independence Sell Investors Short?, Jill E. Fisch Jan 2007

Does Analyst Independence Sell Investors Short?, Jill E. Fisch

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Regulators responded to the analyst scandals of the late 1990s by imposing extensive new rules on the research industry. These rules include a requirement forcing financial firms to separate investment banking operations from research. Regulators argued, with questionable empirical support, that the reforms were necessary to eliminate analyst conflicts of interest and ensure the integrity of sell-side research.

By eliminating investment banking revenues as a source for funding research, the reforms have had substantial effects. Research coverage of small issuers has been dramatically reduced—the vast majority of small capitalization firms now have no coverage at all. The market for ...


The Missing Monitor In Corporate Governance: The Directors' And Officers' Liability Insurer, Tom Baker, Sean J. Griffith Jan 2007

The Missing Monitor In Corporate Governance: The Directors' And Officers' Liability Insurer, Tom Baker, Sean J. Griffith

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This article reports the results of empirical research on the monitoring role of directors’ and officers’ liability insurance (D&O insurance) companies in American corporate governance. Economic theory provides three reasons to expect D&O insurers to serve as corporate governance monitors: first, monitoring provides insurers with a way to manage moral hazard; second, monitoring provides benefits to shareholders who might not otherwise need the risk distribution that D&O insurance provides; and third, the “bonding” provided by risk distribution gives insurers a comparative advantage in monitoring. Nevertheless, we find that D&O insurers neither monitor corporate governance during the life of the insurance contract nor manage litigation defense costs once claims arise. Our findings raise significant questions about the value of D&O insurance for shareholders as well as the deterrent effect of corporate and securities ...


Qalys And Policy Evaluation: A New Perspective, Matthew D. Adler Dec 2005

Qalys And Policy Evaluation: A New Perspective, Matthew D. Adler

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

“QALYs” (Quality-Adjusted Life Years) are a metric for health and longevity very widely employed by health researchers. Surveys are used to assign health states a quality ranking on zero-one scale, with zero representing a health state no better than death and one perfect health. The total QALY value of a health profile is calculated as the time spent in its component health states, each weighted by its quality. Until a few years ago, despite the huge academic literature on QALY measurement, this approach was seldom used by policymakers in the U.S. But there have been recent signs of governmental ...


Equity Analysis And Natural Hazards Policy, Matthew D. Adler Nov 2005

Equity Analysis And Natural Hazards Policy, Matthew D. Adler

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

What is an “equitable” policy for mitigating the impacts of hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, and other natural hazards? Economists tend to see “equity” or “distribution” as irreducibly political and subjective. But, in truth, equity analysis and cost-benefit analysis are on a par. Both require a normative justification. Moreover, normative argument can help us structure equity analysis, just as it can cost-benefit analysis. This chapter, written for a forthcoming book on natural hazards policy after Katrina, argues that equity is a normative consideration distinct from efficiency or overall well-being. It then argues that equity is individualistic, not group-based; ex post, not ex ...


Against 'Individual Risk': A Sympathetic Critique Of Risk Assessment, Matthew D. Adler Mar 2005

Against 'Individual Risk': A Sympathetic Critique Of Risk Assessment, Matthew D. Adler

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

"Individual risk" currently plays a major role in risk assessment and in the regulatory practices of the health and safety agencies that employ risk assessment, such as EPA, FDA, OSHA, NRC, CPSC, and others. Risk assessors use the term "population risk" to mean the number of deaths caused by some hazard. By contrast, "individual risk" is the incremental probability of death that the hazard imposes on some particular person. Regulatory decision procedures keyed to individual risk are widespread. This is true both for the regulation of toxic chemicals (the heartland of risk assessment), and for other health hazards, such as ...


Medical Malpractice And The Insurance Underwriting Cycle, Tom Baker Jan 2005

Medical Malpractice And The Insurance Underwriting Cycle, Tom Baker

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


Fear Assessment: Cost-Benefit Analysis And The Pricing Of Fear And Anxiety, Matthew D. Adler Jan 2004

Fear Assessment: Cost-Benefit Analysis And The Pricing Of Fear And Anxiety, Matthew D. Adler

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Risk assessment is now a common feature of regulatory practice, but fear assessment is not. In particular, environmental, health and safety agencies such as EPA, FDA, OSHA, NHTSA, and CPSC, commonly count death, illness and injury as costs for purposes of cost-benefit analysis, but almost never incorporate fear, anxiety or other welfare-reducing mental states into the analysis. This is puzzling, since fear and anxiety are welfare setbacks, and since the very hazards regulated by these agencies - air or water pollutants, toxic waste dumps, food additives and contaminants, workplace toxins and safety threats, automobiles, dangerous consumer products, radiation, and so on ...


Risk Regulation, Endogenous Public Concerns, And The Hormones Dispute: Nothing To Fear But Fear Itself?, Howard F. Chang Jan 2004

Risk Regulation, Endogenous Public Concerns, And The Hormones Dispute: Nothing To Fear But Fear Itself?, Howard F. Chang

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The dispute between the United States and the European Union (EU) regarding the EU ban on meat imports treated with hormones raises the question: How should regulators respond to public fears that are disproportionate to the risks as evaluated by experts in risk assessment? If regulators cannot eliminate public fears through education, then there is some social benefit from regulations that reduce the feared risks and thereby reduce public anxiety and distortions in behavior flowing from that anxiety. These considerations imply that we cannot simply ignore public fears that technocrats would deem "irrational." On the other hand, there is the ...


The Virtues Of Uncertainty In Law: An Experimental Approach, Tom Baker, Alon Harel, Tamar Kugler Jan 2004

The Virtues Of Uncertainty In Law: An Experimental Approach, Tom Baker, Alon Harel, Tamar Kugler

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.