Title: Strict liability and consumer product innovation: results from a cross-industry pilot study

Authors: Maria Papadakis, Frances E. Zollers, Sandra N. Hurd

Addresses: College of Integrated Science and Technology, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA 22807, USA. ' School of Management, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY 1 3244, USA. ' School of Management, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY 1 3244, USA

Abstract: We report here the results of a pilot study on the impact of strict liability on consumer product innovation in US businesses. Our research takes advantage of a unique historical event: the introduction of strict liability in the European Union (EU) in 1985. The adoption of a strict liability doctrine in the EU allows us to observe directly whether corporate innovation practices are sensitive to liability influences. We surveyed two US consumer products industries as test cases for a more comprehensive study that is currently under way. Based on the findings from these two industries (lawn and garden equipment and toys), it appears that strict liability does not have a negative impact on US business: liability did not appear to cause firms to exit the EU market, to create a barrier to entry in the EU market, reduce our firms| market share in the EU, or inhibit their innovativeness. Our findings reinforce the impression that liability does not intrinsically inhibit innovation or competitiveness and stimulates certain kinds of innovations.

Keywords: innovation; liability; consumer products; competitiveness; USA; United States; lawn and garden equipment; toys.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTM.1996.025493

International Journal of Technology Management, 1996 Vol.12 No.2, pp.242 - 251

Published online: 22 May 2009 *

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