Economists Helland and Tabarrok examine thousands of tort cases to examine the effectiveness of the tort system. Among their conclusions: tort awards and settlements can be affected by jury demographics, income levels, and by partisan judges in states with judicial elections; and while judges and juries are different, their actual decision-making can be remarkably similar. The authors also, controversially, find support for unregulated contingency fees, the subject of a Point of Law featured discussion between Tabarrok and the Manhattan Institute's Jim Copland here. In addition, Helland and Tabarrok propose solutions to critical flaws in the tort system, including better jury guidance, wider geographic jury pools, less "junk science" in the courtroom, and more reliance on contracts as solutions to traditional tort problems.
Eric A. Helland, Professor, Claremont-McKenna College; and Alexander Tabarrok, Professor, George Mason University (Independent Institute, 2006)