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The Determinants of State-Level Caps on Punitive Damages: Theory and Evidence

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Author Info

  • Thomas J. Miceli

    (University of Connecticut)

  • Michael P. Stone

    (Quinnipiac University)

Abstract

Under the standard economic model of torts, punitive damages correct for imperfect detection. Incorporating litigation costs into the model provides a justification for punitive damage caps. At the optimum, caps balance deterrence against the cost of litigation. Empirical testing of the model is performed via Cox proportional and parametric hazard analyses, using a panel dataset from 1981 to 2007. The results reveal a positive relationship between judicial and legal expenditures (a proxy for legal costs) and cap enactment, and a negative relationship between state GSP (a proxy for damages) and cap enactment. Cap enactment is also influenced by political ideology.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Connecticut, Department of Economics in its series Working papers with number 2010-25.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2010-25

Note: We acknowledge the helpful advice of Stephen Ross and the comments of participants at the Department of Economics Brownbag, University of Connecticut, November 2009.
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Postal: University of Connecticut 341 Mansfield Road, Unit 1063 Storrs, CT 06269-1063
Phone: (860) 486-4889
Fax: (860) 486-4463
Web page: http://www.econ.uconn.edu/
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Keywords: Deterrence; litigation costs; punitive damages; statutory caps;

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References

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  1. Eisenberg, Theodore, et al, 1997. "The Predictability of Punitive Damages," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(2), pages 623-61, June.
  2. Anupam Nanda, 2006. "Property Condition Disclosure Law: Why Did States Mandate 'Seller Tell All'?," Working papers 2006-16, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  3. Rubin, Paul H. & Shepherd, Joanna M., 2005. "Tort Reform and Accidental Deaths," Working paper 305, Regulation2point0.
  4. Joni Hersch & W. Kip Viscusi, 2004. "Punitive Damages: How Judges and Juries Perform," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(1), pages 1-36, 01.
  5. Karpoff, Jonathan M & Lott, John R, Jr, 1999. "On the Determinants and Importance of Punitive Damage Awards," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 42(1), pages 527-73, April.
  6. Danzon, Patricia, 1984. "The Frequency and Severity of Medical Malpractice Claims," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(1), pages 115-48, April.
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Cited by:
  1. Ulrich Matter & Alois Stutzer, 2013. "Do Lawyer-Legislators Protect Their Business? Evidence from Voting Behavior on Tort Reforms," Working papers 2013/09, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.

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