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The role of party politics in medical malpractice tort reforms

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  • Matter, Ulrich
  • Stutzer, Alois

Abstract

The U.S. tort system has experienced various reforms over the last three decades. While there is an extensive literature on the consequences of these reforms, very little is known about their determinants. In this study, we investigate the role of party politics in the reform process across U.S. states. In order to test whether any party effect goes beyond voter preferences, we apply the idea behind regression discontinuity studies based on close electoral outcomes to semi-parametric proportional hazards models. We find that in states with close election outcomes, a narrow Republican majority in the lower house is associated with a 50 to 150% higher risk of tort reform enactment compared to a narrow Democratic majority. Our results indicate that party politics plays a role in tort reforms over and above potential underlying preferences in the constituency.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:42:y:2016:i:c:p:17-35
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ejpoleco.2016.01.001
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Tort reform; Medical malpractice; Partisan effect; Legislatures; Survival analysis; RDD;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • K13 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Tort Law and Product Liability; Forensic Economics

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