Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 19 No. 2 (Spring 2005)


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Data Watch: Tort-uring the Data

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Helland, Eric, Jonathan Klick, and Alexander Tabarrok. 2005. "Data Watch: Tort-uring the Data." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 19(2): 207-220.

DOI: 10.1257/0895330054048669


This article discusses data available for researchers interested in the U.S. civil justice system and illustrates the uses of the various datasets with some interesting findings. Our focus is on torts, defined as an injury to person or property that is not covered by contract and for which civil liability may be imposed. The most common tort is the result of an auto accident. We discuss data useful for analyzing trends, data that are useful for cross-sectional research and finally data covering only a specific type of civil litigation such as medical malpractice. We conclude by discussing the limitations of all civil litigation data.

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Helland, Eric
Klick, Jonathan
Tabarrok, Alexander


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