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Methodological issues in empirical research regarding traffic liability – an economic account

Auteurs Louis Visscher
Auteursinformatie

272999 Louis Visscher
Louis Visscher is associate professor in law and economics at the Rotterdam Institute of Law and Economics (RILE) of the Erasmus School of Law. He has studied both economics and law (cum laude) at the Erasmus University Rotterdam, where he also wrote a PhD dissertation on ‘An economic analysis of Dutch tort law’. Louis has published articles and book chapters in the area of the economic analysis of tort law, the law of damages, causation in tort law, insurance, contract law and law enforcement.
  • Samenvatting

      Visscher gives an overview of the empirical research on the deterrent effects of tort law within the domain of traffic accidents. An impressive amount of law and economics research has been done in the last few decades. This has resulted in special attention for the deterrent effects of the financial incentives which are embedded in various legal systems. Contradictory empirical evidence motivates Visscher to reflect on methodological issues. A major shortcoming of most studies is that the dependent and independent variables are not properly defined and distinguished. Another difficulty is to properly assess the influence of the introduction of the no-fault system on incentives: no-fault not only implies that the prevalence of the tort-system is more-or-less marginalised, but also that it transforms the extent to which the damages of those injured are covered by insurances in various ways. It is not easy to isolate both factors properly. Nevertheless, Visscher finds enough support in the empirical evidence to conclude that, without added financial deterrence incentives, no-fault schemes are likely to lead to increased accident rates, more injuries and more fatalities.

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