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Rational Legal Decision-Making, Value Judgment and Efficient Precaution in Tort Law

Mingli Zheng and Sajid Anwar
Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE) / Zeitschrift für die gesamte Staatswissenschaft
Vol. 161, No. 3 (September 2005), pp. 411-427
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40752530
Page Count: 17
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Rational Legal Decision-Making, Value Judgment and Efficient Precaution in Tort Law
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Abstract

By reinterpreting Savage's axioms as axioms of the social rationality over resource allocations, we derive a social welfare function encompassing individual social values and a social attitude towards distributional inequality. Wealth maximization becomes the purpose of law only if individuals have equal social values and the society does not care about distributional inequality. In tort law, when the injurer is less socially valued than the victim, the society imposes a stricter dueprecaution level, and punitive damages will be awarded. Tort law also implicitly transfers wealth from the less socially valued party to the more socially valued party.

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