by David Strauss, Robert Shavelle, Christopher Pflaum, & Christopher Bruce
In this article David Strauss, Robert Shavelle, Christopher Pflaum, and Christopher Bruce argue that the method used by most economists and actuaries for calculating life expectancy among the seriously disabled is flawed. They argue that this method leads to the systematic overestimation of costs of future care. They show, for example, that the costs of care for plaintiffs with cerebral palsy are commonly overestimated by 10 to 15 percent. Strauss and Shavelle are able to provide life expectancy data that correct for this error.
In this article Kelly Rathje explains how the estimates of damages can be improved if the plaintiff is one of a class of individuals who have been affected by the same harm. In such cases, a statistical technique known as econometrics can be employed to compare the earnings capacity of the victims of the harm with the earnings capacity of a randomly selected sample of individuals who have not been so-harmed. This technique can be used, for example, to determine the impact of sexual abuse on a students at an orphanage or residential school.