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Are Punitive Damages Really Insignificant, Predictable, and Rational? A Comment on Eisenberg et al

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  • Polinsky, A Mitchell

Abstract

This comment on an empirical study of punitive damages by Theodore Eisenberg and several coauthors makes three main points. First, contrary to what they imply, Punitive damages may be a significant factor in litigation despite the fact that only a small fraction of cases in their sample involve punitive damage judgments. Second, notwithstanding their interpretation, their results are consistent with the possibility that punitive damages are awarded on a random basis. Third, in opposition to their suggestion, punitive damages may not be rational even if the level of punitive damages is systematically and positively related to the level of compensatory damages. Copyright 1997 by the University of Chicago.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Legal Studies.

Volume (Year): 26 (1997)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 663-77

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlstud:v:26:y:1997:i:2:p:663-77

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Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLS/

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Cited by:
  1. Thomas A. Eaton & David B. Mustard & Susette M. Talarico, 2005. "Punitive Damages and the Processing of Tort Claims," Law and Economics 0501002, EconWPA.
  2. Alison F. Del Rossi & W. Kip Viscusi, 2009. "The Changing Landscape of Blockbuster Punitive Damages Awards," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(1), pages 116-161.
  3. Andrew F. Daughety & Jennifer F. Reinganum, 2000. "Found Money? Split-Award Statutes and Settlement of Punitive Damages Cases," Vanderbilt University Department of Economics Working Papers 0001, Vanderbilt University Department of Economics, revised Mar 2001.

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