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Book Chapter

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This chapter begins with a survey of the implicit role of causation in the writings of the early, pathbreaking economic analysts of tort law. It then clarifies the basic distinction between retrospective (ex post) causation and prospective (ex ante) causation, a distinction that forms the core of many subsequent economic discussions of causation. Next, the explicit role of causation doctrines in inducing optimal care and activity levels is examined under the strict liability and the negligence regimes. The analysis is then extended to cover several complications often plaguing the determination of causation: uncertainty over causation, joint actions among tortfeasors and unforeseeability of harm.