by Christopher Bruce, Derek Aldridge, Kelly Rathje, and Hugh Finnigan
In this article we review the recent evidence – both statistical and theoretical – concerning the discount rate (or real rate of interest). We review a number of different interest rates for each quarter since 1995 and find that every series has trended downward virtually continuously over the entire period. We then review the theoretical arguments that have been put forward to explain why this trend has been observed; and ask whether it is better to base a forecast of future rates of interest on the rates that are currently being observed or on averages of historical rates. We conclude that it would be inappropriate to rely on historical figures and instead we recommend use of multiple rates, based on the rates currently available for a variety of short- and long-term government bonds.
In this article we investigate an issue we have not seen raised anywhere else in the literature on personal injury damages: When an individual is injured in their 30s or early 40s, and has to retrain for a new career, will that individual begin in that career at a salary equivalent to those of individuals with the same age as the plaintiff? Or will the plaintiff’s starting salary be more similar to those of younger individuals in the new career – perhaps 25-29 year-olds? The authors present information from a recent study that investigated this question; and comment on the use of this study for personal injury cases.