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Punitive Damages – How Juries Decide - Chicago Scholarship Online
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Punitive Damages: How Juries Decide

Cass R. Sunstein, Reid Hastie, John W. Payne, David A. Schkade, and W. Kip Viscusi


Over the past two decades, the United States has seen a dramatic increase in the number and magnitude of punitive damages verdicts rendered by juries in civil trials. In cases involving accidents, civil rights, and the environment, multimillion-dollar punitive awards have been a subject of intense controversy. But how do juries actually make decisions about punitive damages? To find out, this book presents the results of controlled experiments with more than 600 mock juries involving the responses of more than 8,000 jury-eligible citizens. Although juries tended to agree in their moral judgmen ... More

Keywords: United States, punitive damages, accidents, civil rights, environment, moral judgments, severity shift, hindsight bias, cost-benefit analyses

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2002 Print ISBN-13: 9780226780146
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226780160.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Cass R. Sunstein, author

Reid Hastie, author

John W. Payne, author

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Part I How Juries Think

A. From Outrage to Dollars


Cass R. Sunstein

2 Shared Outrage, Erratic Awards

Daniel Kahneman, David A. Schkade, and Cass R. Sunstein

3 Deliberating about Dollars: The Severity Shift

David A. Schkade, Cass R. Sunstein, and Daniel Kahneman

4 Do Plaintiffs' Requests and Plaintiffs' Identities Matter?

Reid Hastie, David A. Schkade, and John W. Payne

B. To Punish or Not?


Cass R. Sunstein

5 Judging Corporate Recklessness

Reid Hastie, David A. Schkade, and John W. Payne

6 Looking Backward in Punitive Judgments: 20–20 Vision?

Reid Hastie, David A. Schkade, and John W. Payne

C. Jurors and Judges as Risk Managers Introduction


Cass R. Sunstein

8 Do People Want Optimal Deterrence?

Cass R. SunsteinDavid A. Schkade and Daniel Kahneman

11 Do Judges Do Better?

W. Kip Viscusi

Part II Conclusions

13 What Should Be Done?

Cass R. Sunstein