Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Eric Helland

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© 2012 William C. Dodds


This paper utilizes data on physician malpractice insurance premiums and state tort law to analyze how physicians in various medical specialties are differentially affected by caps on noneconomic damages. As higher premiums put pressure on legislators to enact damage caps, I instrument caps on noneconomic damages with enactment of tort reform measures that do not affect malpractice premiums to uncover the effect of caps on noneconomic damages on such premiums. I find evidence to support that, in terms of dollars saved, physicians in high risk specialties benefit more from noneconomic damage caps than physicians in low risk specialties. However, in percentage terms, I find that physicians in all specialties essentially benefit equally from caps on noneconomic damages.