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Category Archives: Q51

Variability in Jury Awards for Noneconomic Damages in Motor Vehicle Negligence Cases

By Max Cherman  

I analyze the efficiency of jury awards for noneconomic compensatory damages awarded to automobile accident victims suffering nonfatal injuries bringing motor vehicle negligence tort claims. Data from 1002 Jury Verdict Research (JVR) case abstracts was narrowed down to 218 observations of plaintiffs receiving noneconomic damages awards at trials involving motor vehicle negligence from 1988-2019 across the United States. Using age-specific value of life estimations, functional capacity losses associated with plaintiffs’ injuries, and productivity losses, I estimate an ‘expected’ noneconomic damages award that serves as a benchmark against which I compare observed awards. I regress the natural log of the ratio of observed to ‘expected’ awards on injury- severity-level indicator variables and other controls, thus attempting to find whether juries award disproportionately high or low noneconomic damages awards in accordance with plaintiff, defendant, or case-specific factors. I conclude that juries award disproportionate noneconomic damages at the opposite ends of the injury severity spectrum, with plaintiffs suffering severe injuries receiving disproportionately high awards. I also find that juries punish business and government entity plaintiffs. These results serve as evidence that jury decision-making is indeed significantly impacted by hindsight bias in large-value cases and attempts to punish supposedly wealthier defendants, creating inconsistency (variability) in compensatory damages award determinations.

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Advisors: Professor Christopher Timmins, Professor Kent Kimbrough | JEL Codes: K1, K13, Q51

Shale Gas Development and Housing Value in the United Kingdom: Impact of the 13th Onshore Licensing, 2008

By Esther Lho

While shale gas is a prospective energy source, it is known to bring environmental deficits to the drilling neighborhood. Because of such concerns, property values fluctuate upon the possibility of shale gas fracturing. This paper examines the change in housing prices before and after the release of the 13th onshore oil and gas licensing round, which took place in 2008 when shale gas was increasingly being considered as the alternative to ease the United Kingdom’s dependency on coal. Results suggest that the 2008 licensing has caused a 3% decrease in housing price growth rate for the licensed areas.

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Advisor: Christopher Timmins | JEL Codes: Q42, Q5, Q51 | Tagged: Consumer Expectation, Fracturing, Hedonic Price, Housing Prices, Property valuation, Shale Gas, United Kingdom

Understanding the Value of Amenities: A Study of the Land Value Determination Process in Hangzhou, China

By Ching-Ching Chen

This paper seeks to investigate the determinants of land within Hangzhou China.  There are two main goals that the research paper will attempt to address. The first is to build upon existing research on land pricing in terms of the theories outlined by the monocentric city and hedonic pricing models. Second, the paper will use a dataset of Hangzhou land sales transactions between the years of 2003 and 2011 to investigate the possible existence of “luxury residuals” among commercial and residential land parcels. Nonetheless, due to the presence of large residuals, while Chinese consumers value certain amenities is not fully captured by these results. Rather, a number of case studies or outliers are used to fully examine the influences of these amenity variables in driving extreme prices. The result support the hypothesis that China, located at the bottom of Kuznets environmental curve, values amenities at extreme levels as a result of scarcity.

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Advisor: Charles Becker | JEL Codes: Q51, R0, R14, R52 | Tagged: Empirical Analysis, Hangzhou Land Price Appreciation, Hedonic Pricing Model, Kuznets Curve, Monocentric City Model

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