Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=781424
 
 

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Tort Reform and Accidental Deaths


Paul H. Rubin


Emory University - Department of Economics

Joanna Shepherd


Emory University School of Law

May 1, 2007

Journal of Law and Economics, Vol. 50, 2007

Abstract:     
Theory suggests that tort reform could have two possible impacts on accidents. Reforms could increase accidents as tortfeasors internalize less of the cost of externalities and have less incentive to reduce the risk of accidents. Alternatively, tort reforms could decrease accidents as lower expected liability costs result in lower prices, enabling consumers to buy more risk-reducing products such as medicines, safety equipment, and medical services, and could result in consumers increasing precautions to avoid accidents. We test these effects by examining the relationship between tort reform and non-motor-vehicle accidental death rates using panel data techniques. We find that noneconomic damage caps, a higher evidence standard for punitive damages, product liability reform, and prejudgment interest reform are associated with fewer accidental deaths, while reforms to the collateral source rule are associated with increased deaths. Overall, the tort reforms in the states between 1981 and 2000 are associated with an estimated 24,000 fewer accidental deaths.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 18

Keywords: tort reform, accidents, deaths

JEL Classification: I12, K14

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Date posted: August 11, 2005 ; Last revised: May 30, 2012

Suggested Citation

Rubin, Paul H. and Shepherd, Joanna, Tort Reform and Accidental Deaths (May 1, 2007). Journal of Law and Economics, Vol. 50, 2007. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=781424

Contact Information

Paul H. Rubin (Contact Author)
Emory University - Department of Economics ( email )
1602 Fishburne Drive
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States
404-931-0493 (Phone)
630-604-9609 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://www.economics.emory.edu/Rubi.htm
Joanna Shepherd
Emory University School of Law ( email )
1301 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States
404-727-8957 (Phone)
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