Punitive Damages and Deterrence of Efficiency-Promoting Analysis

A Problem Without a Solution?

by Steven Garber


Purchase Print Copy

 FormatList Price
Add to Cart Paperback12 pages Free

In this article, the author comments on Professor Viscusi’s analysis regarding a threat that punitive damages pose to economic efficiency (see Viscusi, Kip W., “Corporate Risk Analysis: A Reckless Act?,” Stanford Law Review, Vol. 52, No. 3). The author discusses Viscusi’s implicit assumption that promotion of economic efficiency is the only legitimate social goal of punitive damages, and comments on the strength of Viscusi’s historical evidence that punitive damages are often assessed because companies perform risk or cost-benefit analysis. The author also sketches a theory of why the threat of such assessments is likely to deter socially worthwhile analysis in many cases and comments on potential policy responses.

Originally published in: Stanford Law Review, v. 52, no. 6. July 2000, pp. 1809-1820.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Reprint series. The Reprint was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1992 to 2011 that represented previously published journal articles, book chapters, and reports with the permission of the publisher. RAND reprints were formally reviewed in accordance with the publisher's editorial policy and compliant with RAND's rigorous quality assurance standards for quality and objectivity. For select current RAND journal articles, see External Publications.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit www.rand.org/about/research-integrity.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.