Tort law presents a puzzle from an information cost point of view. Like property, its duties often avail against others generally, but unlike property it is appears not to be standardized and is more subject to judicial innovation. This essay argues that torts, like property, employs modular structures to manage the complexity of interactions between actors. Both property and torts solve the information cost problem with in rem rights in similar ways, by chopping up the world of interactions between parties into manageable chunksmodulesthat are semi-autonomous. Instead of employing things to achieve modularity, tort law employs other strategies to limit information costs, by hiding information and making tort law less context-dependent than one might expect from a law of actions. The features of tort law emphasized by noneconomic theories of tort lawcorrective justice, civil recourse, and natural rightscan be seen as managing the complexity of tort law. These include torts bilateral structure, the content of duties, and proximate cause. As in property, a heavy reliance in tort law on simple moral norms, which are easy to communicate and self-enforce, receives a partial explanation in terms of information costs. Economic analysis and broadly moral theories of torts turn out to be closer together at the descriptive level than is usually thought.
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