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First Do No Harm?: Tort Reform and Birth Outcomes

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  • Janet Currie
  • W. Bentley MacLeod

Abstract

We examine the impact of tort reforms using U.S. birth records for 1989-2001. We make four contributions: First, we develop a model that analyzes the incentives created by specific tort reforms. Second, we assemble new data on tort reform. Third, we examine a range of outcomes. Finally, we allow for differential effects by demographic/risk group. We find that reforms of the "deep pockets rule" reduce complications of labor and C-sections, while caps on noneconomic damages increase them. Our results demonstrate there are important interactions between incentives created by tort law and other incentives facing physicians.

Suggested Citation

  • Janet Currie & W. Bentley MacLeod, 2006. "First Do No Harm?: Tort Reform and Birth Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 12478, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12478
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jennifer Arlen & W. Bentley MacLeod, 2005. "Torts, Expertise, and Authority: Liability of Physicians and Managed Care Organizations," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 36(3), pages 494-519, Autumn.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • K13 - Law and Economics - - Basic Areas of Law - - - Tort Law and Product Liability; Forensic Economics

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