Research Handbooks in Law and Economics series
Edited by Jennifer H. Arlen
Chapter 18: Empirical analysis of tort damages
The law and economics theory of damages for tort cases is much more abstract and less nuanced than the practice of setting the value of these awards. How awards are set and at what levels are both crucial determinants of the functioning of the tort liability system. Do tort damages in fact establish appropriate incentives for deterrence and provide the levels of insurance consistent with law and economics theory? Are there inadequacies in the levels of these damages that might warrant some kind of reform to the damages determination process? Have there been stark upward trends in amounts of damages that would suggest that the functioning of the tort system has changed in a perhaps unintended manner? This chapter reviews the different damages’ components and provides a general empirical review of their performance.
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