Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1327045
 
 

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Punitive Damages by Numbers: Exxon Shipping Co. v. Baker


Joni Hersch


Vanderbilt University - Law School; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); Vanderbilt University - Owen Graduate School of Management; Vanderbilt University - College of Arts and Science - Department of Economics

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

January 7, 2009

Vanderbilt Law and Economics Research Paper No. 09-04

Abstract:     
The U.S. Supreme Court decision in Exxon Shipping Co. v. Baker is a landmark that establishes an upper bound ratio of punitive damages to compensatory damages of 1:1 for maritime cases, with potential implications for other types of cases as well. This article critiques the Court's reliance on the median ratio of punitive to compensatory damages in samples of verdicts to set an upper bound for punitive damages awards. Our critique of the approach draws on the properties of statistical distributions and a new analysis of cases with punitive damages awards. The Court's conclusion that a 1:1 ratio establishes a fair upper bound lacks a sound scientific basis.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 31

Keywords: punitive damages, blockbuster, punitive award, exxon, exxon shipping co. v. baker

JEL Classification: K13


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Date posted: January 14, 2009  

Suggested Citation

Hersch, Joni and Viscusi, W. Kip, Punitive Damages by Numbers: Exxon Shipping Co. v. Baker (January 7, 2009). Vanderbilt Law and Economics Research Paper No. 09-04. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1327045 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1327045

Contact Information

Joni Hersch (Contact Author)
Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )
131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States
615-343-7717 (Phone)
615-322-6631 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://law.vanderbilt.edu/go/phdlawecon
Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) ( email )
P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany
Vanderbilt University - Owen Graduate School of Management
401 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203
United States
Vanderbilt University - College of Arts and Science - Department of Economics
Box 1819 Station B
Nashville, TN 37235
United States
W. Kip Viscusi
Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )
131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States
615-343-7715 (Phone)
615-322-5953 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://law.vanderbilt.edu/faculty/viscusi.htm
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Vanderbilt University - Department of Economics
Box 1819 Station B
Nashville, TN 37235
United States
(615) 343-7715 (Phone)
(615) 343-5953 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://law.vanderbilt.edu/faculty/viscusi.htm
Vanderbilt University - Owen Graduate School of Management
401 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203
United States
(615) 343-7715 (Phone)
(615) 343-5953 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://law.vanderbilt.edu/faculty/viscusi.htm
Vanderbilt University - Strategy and Business Economics ( email )
Nashville, TN 37203
United States

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