Anchoring in the Courtroom: The Effects of Caps on Punitive Damages

21 Pages Posted: 15 Aug 2013

See all articles by Jennifer K. Robbennolt

Jennifer K. Robbennolt

University of Illinois College of Law

Christina Studebaker

Barnes and Thornburg LLP; ThemeVision LLC

Date Written: 1999

Abstract

Responding to the perception that civil damage awards are out of control, courts and legislatures have pursued tort reform efforts largely aimed at reigning in damage awards by juries. One proposed method for reigning in civil juries is to limit, or cap, the amount that can be awarded for punitive damages. Despite significant controversy over damage awards and the civil litigation system, there has been little research focusing on the process by which juries determine damages. In particular, there is a paucity of research on the possible effects of placing caps on punitive damages. The present research examines punitive damage caps and reveals an anchoring effect of the caps on both compensatory and punitive damages. A second experiment replicates this effect and examines the moderating effect of bifurcating the compensatory and punitive damage decisions.

Keywords: damages

JEL Classification: K00

Suggested Citation

Robbennolt, Jennifer K. and Studebaker, Christina, Anchoring in the Courtroom: The Effects of Caps on Punitive Damages (1999). Law and Human Behavior, Vol. 23, No. 3, 1999, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2309723

Jennifer K. Robbennolt (Contact Author)

University of Illinois College of Law ( email )

504 E. Pennsylvania Avenue
Champaign, IL 61820
United States
217-333-6623 (Phone)

Christina Studebaker

Barnes and Thornburg LLP ( email )

Chicago, IL
United States

ThemeVision LLC ( email )

11 South Meridian Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204
United States

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