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Title:Death, happiness, and the calculation of compensatory damages PDF Logo
Authors:Oswald, Andrew J.
Powdthavee, Nattavudh
Issue Date:2007
Series/Report no.:IZA Discussion Papers 3159
Abstract:This paper studies the mental distress caused by bereavement. The largest emotional losses are from the death of a spouse; the second-worst in severity are the losses from the death of a child; the third-worst is the death of a parent. The paper explores how happiness regression equations might be used in tort cases to calculate compensatory damages for emotional harm and pain-and-suffering. We examine alternative well-being variables, discuss adaptation, consider the possibility that bereavement affects someone's marginal utility of income, and suggest a procedure for correcting for the endogeneity of income. Although the paper's contribution is methodological, and further research is needed, some illustrative compensation amounts are discussed.
Subjects:Bereavement
damages
happiness
compensation
well-being
GHQ scores
JEL:D1
Document Type:Working Paper
Appears in Collections:IZA Discussion Papers, Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit (IZA)

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