Policymakers and the public are concerned about the role of medical malpractice liability in the rising cost of medical care. We use variation in the generosity of local juries to identify the causal impact of malpractice liability on medical costs, mortality, and social welfare. The effect of malpractice on medical costs is large relative to its share of medical expenditures, but relatively modest in absolute terms—growth in malpractice payments over the last decade and a half contributed at most 5.0% to the total real growth in medical expenditures, which topped 33% over this period. On the other side of the ledger, malpractice liability leads to modest reductions in patient mortality; the value of these more than likely exceeds the cost impacts of malpractice liability. Therefore, p...
The research activities of the NBER are funded by grants from federal research agencies, by private foundations, and by generous donations from our corporate associates and from private individuals. The NBER is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization. For information on supporting the NBER, please contact:
Mr. Denis Healy, Director of Development
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138-5398