The Flawed Hedonic Damages Measure of Compensation for Wrongful Death and Personal Injury

38 Pages Posted: 17 Jan 2008 Last revised: 27 Nov 2012

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

Abstract

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.

Keywords: hedonic damages, value of statistical life, wrongful death

JEL Classification: J17, K13, K10

Suggested Citation

Viscusi, W. Kip, The Flawed Hedonic Damages Measure of Compensation for Wrongful Death and Personal Injury. Journal of Forensic Economics, Forthcoming; Vanderbilt Law and Economics Research Paper No. 08-05. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1084933

W. Kip Viscusi (Contact Author)

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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