The Effect of Electoral Institutions on Tort Awards

Posted: 29 Feb 2008

See all articles by Eric Helland

Eric Helland

Claremont McKenna College - Robert Day School of Economics and Finance; RAND

Alexander T. Tabarrok

George Mason University - Department of Economics

Abstract

We argue that partisan elected judges have an incentive to redistribute wealth from out-of-state defendants (nonvoters) to in-state plaintiffs (voters). We first test the hypothesis by using cross-state data. We find a significant partisan effect after controlling for differences in injuries, state incomes, poverty levels, selection effects, and other factors. One difference that appears difficult to control for is that each state has its own tort law. In cases involving citizens of different states, federal judges decide disputes by using state law. Using these diversity-of-citizenship cases, we conclude that differences in awards are caused by differences in electoral systems, not by differences in state law.

Suggested Citation

Helland, Eric A. and Tabarrok, Alexander T., The Effect of Electoral Institutions on Tort Awards. American Law and Economics Review, Vol. 4, No. 2, pp. 341-370, 2002. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=874205

Eric A. Helland (Contact Author)

Claremont McKenna College - Robert Day School of Economics and Finance ( email )

500 E. Ninth St.
Claremont, CA 91711-6420
United States
909-607-7275 (Phone)
909-621-8243 (Fax)

RAND ( email )

1776 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA
United States

Alexander T. Tabarrok

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

MSN 1D3
4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States
703-993-2314 (Phone)

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
580
PlumX Metrics