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Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 December 2014

Diego M. Papayannis*
University of Girona,


In this paper I argue that economic theories have never been able to provide a coherent explanation of the causation requirement in tort law. The economic characterization of this requirement faces insurmountable difficulties, because discourse on tort liability cannot be reduced to a cost-benefit analysis without a loss of meaning. More seriously, I try to show that by describing causation in economic terms, economic theories offer an image of the practice in which the participants incur in logical contradictions and develop patterns of inference that are far from intuitive. For this reason, efficiency cannot be the fundamental principle underlying tort law. Finally, I suggest that economic analysis of law can provide a genuine explanation of certain aspects of legal practice if it relinquishes its reductionist claims.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2014 

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