The Flawed Hedonic Damages Measure of Compensation for Wrongful Death and Personal Injury
W. Kip Viscusi
Vanderbilt University - Law School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Vanderbilt University - Department of Economics; Vanderbilt University - Owen Graduate School of Management; Vanderbilt University - Strategy and Business Economics
Journal of Forensic Economics, Forthcoming
Vanderbilt Law and Economics Research Paper No. 08-05
The payment of hedonic damages based on the value of statistical life will lead to excessive insurance and excessive deterrence in personal injury cases. The value of statistical life can play a constructive role in assessing negligence and liability. The recent proposal that wrongful death victims be awarded hedonic damages in addition to the standard economic damages and noneconomic damages amounts to compensate for the harm to survivors will produce rampant double counting and will transform wrongful death awards in a very inefficient and undesirable manner. Recent attempts to set compensation levels by chaining the value of statistical life with measures of happiness and disability reflect a fundamental misunderstanding of the value of statistical life literature.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 38
Keywords: hedonic damages, value of statistical life, wrongful death
JEL Classification: J17, K13, K10
Date posted: January 17, 2008 ; Last revised: November 27, 2012
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