The U.S. tort system has experienced various reforms during the last three decades. While there is a broad literature on the consequences of these reforms, very little is known about their determinants. In this study, we investigate the politico-economic forces that were driving the reform process across U.S. states. We focus on five types of medical malpractice tort reform and apply semi-parametric proportional hazards models to assess the factors that are related to reform enactments. We find, first, that a higher fraction of Republicans in a state legislature as well as a Republican governor are the major drivers of medical malpractice tort reforms. Second, we find that a higher fraction of women in a state legislature is associated with reforms being deferred. This finding is corroborated by micro-evidence on female legislators' voting behavior on medical malpractice tort reforms, and it is consistent with the notion that women are disproportionally aggrieved by such reforms.
Tort reform tort law medical malpractice rent-seeking legislatures women in politics