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The Demographics of Tort Reform

Author

Listed:
  • Rubin Paul H.

    (Emory University, Dept. of Economics and Law School; Emory University, Law School)

  • Shepherd Joanna M.

    (Emory University, Dept. of Economics and Law School; Emory University, Law School)

Abstract

Tort reform may not affect all segments of society equally. Studies have shown that many tort reforms disproportionately reduce compensation to women, children, the elderly, disadvantaged minorities, and less affluent people. This study goes beyond tort reforms disproportionate effect on compensation, to explore whether tort reform also has a disproportionate effect on accidental death rates. We explain that, theoretically, tort reforms care-level effects and activity-level effects may disproportionately impact the accident rates of different groups. Using the most accurate, comprehensive data on medical malpractice tort reforms and state-level data from 1980-2000, we examine empirically whether tort reforms indeed have such a disproportionate effect. The results from our empirical analysis are consistent with our theoretical predictions. We find that the impact of tort reform varies substantially among demographic groups. When we consider the net effect of all the reforms in our study together, our results suggest that women, children, and the elderly do not enjoy tort reforms benefits as much as men and middle-aged people. In fact, they might even be harmed by reform.

Suggested Citation

  • Rubin Paul H. & Shepherd Joanna M., 2008. "The Demographics of Tort Reform," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 4(2), pages 591-620, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:rlecon:v:4:y:2008:i:2:n:3
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Browne, Mark J & Puelz, Robert, 1999. "The Effect of Legal Rules on the Value of Economic and Non-economic Damages and the Decision to File," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 18(2), pages 189-213, August.
    2. Calfee, John E & Rubin, Paul H, 1992. "Some Implications of Damage Payments for Nonpecuniary Losses," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 371-411, June.
    3. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-In-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Andrew Friedson & Thomas Kniesner, 2012. "Losers and losers: Some demographics of medical malpractice tort reforms," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 45(2), pages 115-133, October.
    2. Matter, Ulrich & Stutzer, Alois, 2014. "The Role of Lawyer-Legislators in Shaping the Law: Evidence from Voting Behavior on Tort Reforms," Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100452, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    3. Matter, Ulrich & Stutzer, Alois, 2015. "Politico-economic determinants of tort reforms in medical malpractice," Working papers 2015/02, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
    4. Matter, Ulrich & Stutzer, Alois, 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.
    5. Matter, Ulrich & Stutzer, Alois, 2016. "The role of party politics in medical malpractice tort reforms," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 17-35.

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