NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Risk Aversion and the Desirability of Attenuated Legal Change

Steven Shavell

NBER Working Paper No. 19879
Issued in February 2014
NBER Program(s):   LE

This article develops two points. First, insurance against the risk of legal change is largely unavailable, primarily because of the correlated nature of the losses that legal change generates. Second, given the absence of insurance against legal change, it is generally desirable for legal change to be attenuated. Specifically, in a model of uncertainty about two different types of legal change--in regulatory standards, and in payments for harm caused--it is demonstrated that the optimal new regulatory standard is less than the conventionally efficient standard, and that the optimal new payment for harm is less than the harm.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w19879

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