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Buying the Right to Harm: The Economics of Buyouts

Ehud Guttel and Shmuel Leshem ()
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Ehud Guttel: Duke Law School
Shmuel Leshem: USC School of Law

No 93, CAE Working Papers from Aix-Marseille Université, CERGAM

Abstract: Many injurers now offer to buy out victims' property to reduce harm. This pa- per examines the e¢ ciency of buyouts negotiated in the shadow of regulation and liability rules which require injurers to take e¢ cient precautions. It shows that if the social bene?t from precautions is increasing with victims?expected harm, buyouts reduce social welfare. Because buyouts allow injurers to take fewer precautions, a buyout of one victim produces a negative externality for the remaining victims. The injurer can thus exploit victims through a "divide-and-conquer" strategy: making simultaneous, discriminatory take-it-or-leave-it buyout offers. The injurer's profit from buyouts is greater if o¤ers are sequential. Perhaps most surprisingly, buyouts reduce social welfare and victims' joint profits even if victims make simultaneous or sequential take-it-or-leave-it buyout demands to the injurer.

Keywords: Cost-benefit standards; divide and conquer; harmful externalities (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C72 K13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 37 pages
Date: 2011-05
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-law
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (1)

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