Règles de responsabilité optimales face aux risques et choix technologiques des firmes

Abstract : The development of the economic analysis of liability was developed on the idea that this legal tool can ex ante provide incentives to prevent the risks of accident. In the context of large-scale technological risks prevention, this literature notably highlights the inefficiencies of the limited liability regime. This liability regime was implemented in order to build a protection, which encourages investors to provide massive capital inflows needed to start modern production capacities. But it can provide suboptimal incentives to prevent a risk of damage that is not fully internalized. In chapter 1, we draw a State of the Art of this literature and argue that a connection with the literature from environmental economics is necessary. Such a connection, that introduces the possibility of induced technological change into the analysis, was made in the context of effluents regulation. Our thesis will show that such a connection is also desirable for the economic analysis of large-scale technological risks prevention. Chapter 2 shows that allowing for technological change puts in perspective the inefficiencies of the limited liability regime. Indeed we highlight the fact that implementing such a regime can induce the firms to proceed to technological change, leading to a lower probability of accident and better risk internalization. Moreover, using a tax on the level of activity reinforce the efficiency of this liability regime. Chapters 3 and 4 extend the analysis to imperfectly known risks, which can be encountered when new technologies are introduced. We compare limited and unlimited liability regimes and show that the latter provide more incentives to search for more information about the imprecise risk, and it has the smoothest impact on technological choice. Finally, chapter 5 deals with innovation, when technological progress impacts both the cost of risk prevention and the probability of accident. We highlight that the nature of the innovation and the role of the Regulator are essential : in the presence of a 'conformist' Regulator strict liability is always preferable to negligence, but negligence may be preferable in the presence of a 'proactive' Regulator if the technological progress essentially impacts the cost of prevention.
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Julien Jacob. Règles de responsabilité optimales face aux risques et choix technologiques des firmes. Economies et finances. Université Nancy 2, 2011. Français. ⟨NNT : 2011NAN20013⟩. ⟨tel-01749127⟩

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