The Challenge of Punitive Damages Mathematics

Posted: 4 Oct 2001

See all articles by W. Kip Viscusi

W. Kip Viscusi

Vanderbilt University - Law School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Vanderbilt University - College of Arts and Science - Department of Economics; Vanderbilt University - Owen Graduate School of Management; Vanderbilt University - Strategy and Business Economics

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Abstract

Proposals to provide juries with specific numerical instructions for setting punitive damages should bring greater rationality to punitive damages awards. This approach is tested using evidence from 353 jury-eligible citizens who applied these formulas to a series of legal cases.Few respondents assessed the correct values of punitive damages from the standpoint of deterrence. Anchoring effects of appeals by a plaintiff's lawyer or media coverage of similar awards lead respondents to abandon the punitive damages formula and set punitive damages based on the anchor. Minorities and the less well-educated were particularly unwilling or unable to apply the recommended punitive damages formulas.

JEL Classification: K13

Suggested Citation

Viscusi, W. Kip, The Challenge of Punitive Damages Mathematics. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=285112

W. Kip Viscusi (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://law.vanderbilt.edu/bio/?pid=w-kip-viscusi

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Vanderbilt University - College of Arts and Science - Department of Economics

Box 1819 Station B
Nashville, TN 37235
United States
(615) 343-7715 (Phone)
(615) 343-5953 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://as.vanderbilt.edu/economics/bio/wkip-viscusi/

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://business.vanderbilt.edu/bio/w-kip-viscusi/

Vanderbilt University - Strategy and Business Economics

Nashville, TN 37203
United States

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