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Open Access Publications from the University of California

A Damage-Revelation Rationale for Coupon Remedies


This article studies optimal remedies in a setting in which damages vary among plaintiffs and are difficult to determine. We show that giving plaintiffs a choice between coupons to purchase units of the defendant’s product at a discount and cash — a coupon-cash remedy — is superior to cash alone. The optimal coupon-cash remedy offers a cash amount that is less than the value of the coupons to plaintiffs who suffer relatively high harm. Such a remedy induces these plaintiffs to choose coupons, and plaintiffs who suffer relatively low harm to choose cash. Sorting plaintiffs in this way leads to better deterrence because the costs borne by defendants (the cash payments and the cost of providing coupons) more closely approximate the harms that they have caused.

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