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Database of State Tort Law Reforms (5th)

Ronen Avraham

University of Texas at Austin - School of Law

May 2014

U of Texas Law, Law and Econ Research Paper No. e555

This manuscript of the DSTLR (5th) updates the DSTLR (4th) and contains the most detailed, complete and comprehensive legal dataset of the most prevalent tort reforms in the United States between 1980 and 2012. The DSTLR has been downloaded almost 2000 times and has become the standard tool in empirical research of tort reform. The dataset records state laws in all fifty states and the District of Columbia over the last several decades. For each reform we record the effective date, a short description of the reform, whether or not the jury is allowed to know about the reform, whether the reform was upheld or struck down by the states’ courts, as well as whether it was amended by the state legislator. Scholarship studying the empirical effects of tort reforms relies on various datasets, (tort reforms datasets and other legal compilations). Some of the datasets are created and published independently and some of them are created ad-hoc by the researchers. The usefulness of these datasets frequently suffers from various defects. They are often incompatible and do not accurately record judicial invalidation of laws. Additionally, they frequently lack reforms adopted before 1986, amendments adopted after 1986, court-based reforms, and effective dates of legislation. It is possible that some of the persisting variation across empirical studies about the effects of tort reforms might be due to the variations in legal datasets used by the studies. This dataset builds upon and improves existing data sources. It does so through a careful review of original legislation and case law to determine the exact text and effective dates. The fifth draft corrects errors that were found in the fourth draft, focuses only on the most prevalent reforms, and standardizes the descriptions of the reforms. A link to an Excel file which codes ten reforms found in DSTLR (5th) is provided. It is hoped that creating one “canonized” dataset will increase our understanding of tort reform’s impacts on our lives.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 168

Keywords: health law, law and economics, empirical studies, tort and product liability, medical malpractice, tort law, insurance law, health care, database

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Date posted: May 17, 2006 ; Last revised: May 21, 2014

Suggested Citation

Avraham, Ronen, Database of State Tort Law Reforms (5th) (May 2014). U of Texas Law, Law and Econ Research Paper No. e555. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=902711 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.902711

Contact Information

Ronen Avraham (Contact Author)
University of Texas at Austin - School of Law ( email )
727 East Dean Keeton Street
Austin, TX 78705
United States
(512) 232-1357 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://www.utexas.edu/law/faculty/profile.php?id=ra22397

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