October 6, 2015

Fault-Based Norms, Legal Standards, and Conduct

Bruno Deffains, Université Paris 2 Panthéon Assas, and Claude Fluet, University of Quebec, Montreat (UQAM) have published Social Norms and Legal Design as CIRPEE Working Paper 15-20. Here is the abstract.
We compare fault-based and strict liability offences in law enforcement when behavior is influenced by informal prosocial norms of conduct. Fault tends to be more effective than strict liability in harnessing social or self-image concerns. When enforcement relies on fines and assessing fault is not too costly, the optimal legal regime is fault-based with a standard consistent with the underlying social norm if convictions would seldom occur under optimal enforcement; otherwise liability should be strict. When sanctions are nonmonetary or when stigmatization imposes a deadweight loss, the legal standard may be harsher or more lenient than the social norm.
Download the working paper from SSRN at the link.

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