Consent v. Welfare: On the Optimal Penalty for Harassment
38 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2021
Date Written: February 25, 2021
The economic approach to determine optimal legal policies involves maximizing a social welfare function. We propose an alternative: a consent-approach that seeks to promote consensual interactions and deter non-consensual interactions. The consent-approach does not rest upon inter-personal utility comparisons or value judgments about preferences. It does not require any additional information relative to the welfare-approach. We highlight the contrast between the welfare-approach and the consent-approach using a stylized model inspired by seminal cases of harassment and the #MeToo movement. The social welfare maximizing penalty for harassment in our model can be zero under the welfare-approach but not under the consent-approach.
Keywords: Consent, social welfare, harassment, law
JEL Classification: D63, K00, J47
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation