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Calculating Compensation in Cases of Wrongful Death

  • Arthur Lewbel

    ()

    (Boston College)

Death statutes in the United States list elements of loss for which a defendant must make compensatory payment. The element that economists as expert witnesses are called upon to calculate is net income, roughly defined as the decedent's income minus personal expenses. The existence of joint or shared consumption goods complicates the definition and calculation of net income. Net income can be interpreted as the money required for survivors to attain the same standard of living as before. Equivalence scales traditionally used for this type of calculation are flawed. A new method for calculating net income is proposed, based on a collective household model.

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Paper provided by Boston College Department of Economics in its series Boston College Working Papers in Economics with number 523.

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Length: 18 pages
Date of creation: 15 Jan 2002
Date of revision: 07 Jun 2002
Handle: RePEc:boc:bocoec:523
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  1. Jorgenson, Dale W & Slesnick, Daniel T, 1987. "Aggregate Consumer Behavior and Household Equivalence Scales," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 5(2), pages 219-32, April.
  2. Frederic VERMEULEN, 2000. "Collective Household Models: Principles and Main Results," Center for Economic Studies - Discussion papers ces0028, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centrum voor Economische Studiën.
  3. Muellbauer, John, 1977. "Testing the Barten Model of Household Composition Effects and the Cost of Children," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 87(347), pages 460-87, September.
  4. Daniel T. Slesnick, 1998. "Empirical Approaches to the Measurement of Welfare," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(4), pages 2108-2165, December.
  5. Martin Browning & Pierre-Andre Chiappori, 2006. "Estimating Consumption Economies of Scale, Adult Equivalence Scales, and Household Bargaining Power," Economics Series Working Papers 289, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  6. Pollak, Robert A & Wales, Terence J, 1979. "Welfare Comparisons and Equivalence Scales," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(2), pages 216-21, May.
  7. Browning, Martin, 1992. "Children and Household Economic Behavior," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(3), pages 1434-75, September.
  8. Lewbel, Arthur, 1989. "Household equivalence scales and welfare comparisons," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 377-391, August.
  9. Nelson, Julie A, 1988. "Household Economies of Scale in Consumption: Theory and Evidence," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(6), pages 1301-14, November.
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