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Death, happiness, and the calculation of compensatory damages

Oswald, A.J. and Powdthavee, N. (2008) Death, happiness, and the calculation of compensatory damages. Journal of Legal Studies. S217-S251. ISSN 0047-2530

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This paper presents a study of the mental distress caused by bereavement. The greatest emotional losses are from the death of a spouse, the second greatest from the death of a child, and the third from the death of a parent. The paper explores how happiness regression equations might be used in tort cases to calculate compensatory damages for emotional harm and pain and suffering. We examine alternative well-being variables, discuss adaptation, consider the possibility that bereavement affects someone's marginal utility of income, and suggest a procedure for correcting for the endogeneity of income. Although the paper's contribution is methodological and further research is needed, some illustrative compensation amounts are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Copyright, Publisher and Additional Information: © 2008 University of Chicago Press. This is an author produced version of a paper published in the Journal of Legal Studies. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher's self archiving policy.
Keywords: Law
Institution: The University of York
Academic Units: The University of York > Economics and Related Studies (York)
Depositing User: Repository Administrator York
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2009 14:30
Last Modified: 21 Aug 2016 00:02
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/595674
Status: Published
Refereed: Yes
Related URLs:
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/5504

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