NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

First Do No Harm?: Tort Reform and Birth Outcomes

Janet Currie, W. Bentley MacLeod

NBER Working Paper No. 12478
Issued in August 2006
NBER Program(s):   CH   HC   LE

We examine the impact of tort reforms using U.S. birth records for 1989-2001. We make four contributions: First, we develop a model that analyzes the incentives created by specific tort reforms. Second, we assemble new data on tort reform. Third, we examine a range of outcomes. Finally, we allow for differential effects by demographic/risk group. We find that reforms of the "deep pockets rule" reduce complications of labor and C-sections, while caps on noneconomic damages increase them. Our results demonstrate there are important interactions between incentives created by tort law and other incentives facing physicians.

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This paper was revised on May 19, 2008

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w12478

Published: Janet Currie & W. Bentley MacLeod, 2008. "First Do No Harm? Tort Reform and Birth Outcomes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(2), pages 795-830, 05. citation courtesy of

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