42 Pages Posted: 2 Dec 2016
Date Written: November 30, 2016
State punitive damages reforms have altered how courts award punitive damages. We model the decision to award punitive damages as a two-step process involving the decision to award any punitive damages and the decision of what amount to award. For the Civil Justice Survey of State Courts samples of trial court verdicts, punitive damages caps reduce the amount of damages awarded but do not affect whether they are initially awarded. In contrast, the effect of punitive damages reforms on blockbuster punitive damages awards of at least $100 million is to reduce the incidence of these awards, but not their amount.
Keywords: punitive damages, tort reform, damages caps, blockbuster awards
JEL Classification: K13, K41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
McMichael, Benjamin J. and Viscusi, W. Kip, The Punitive Damages Calculus: The Differential Incidence of State Punitive Damages Reforms (November 30, 2016). Vanderbilt Public Law Research Paper No. 16-52; Vanderbilt Law and Economics Research Paper No. 16-27. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2878056 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2878056