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Guido Calabresi's The Costs of Accidents is unquestionably the most important book written in tort theory during the past fifty years. Much of what has been written since the book's publication either extends Calabresi's insights or reacts critically to them; some essays do a bit of both. Its lessons are by now so absorbed as to constitute part of the common understanding of the subject. The Costs of Accidents not only provides the intellectual framework within which the current debate occurs, but the language in which it is expressed as well. In time, the expression "cheapest cost avoider" will no doubt find its way into the Italian translation of the Oxford English Dictionary and may even appear someday as an entry in the Authorized Version. The Costs of Accidents has redefined both tort law and tort theory–often, but not always, for the betterment of each.

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