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Deterrence

Law and Psychology

Journal

Maurer School of Law: Indiana University

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Why Exempting Negligent Doctors May Reduce Suicide: An Empirical Analysis, John Shahar Dillbary, Griffin Edwards, Fredrick E. Vars Apr 2018

Why Exempting Negligent Doctors May Reduce Suicide: An Empirical Analysis, John Shahar Dillbary, Griffin Edwards, Fredrick E. Vars

Indiana Law Journal

This Article is the first to empirically analyze the impact of tort liability on suicide. Counter-intuitively, our analysis shows that suicide rates increase when potential tort liability is expanded to include psychiatrists—the very defendants who would seem best able to prevent suicide. Using a fifty-state panel regression for 1981 to 2013, we find that states which allowed psychiatrists (but not other doctors) to be liable for malpractice resulting in suicide experienced a 9.3% increase in suicides. On the other hand, and more intuitively, holding non-psychiatrist doctors liable de-creases suicide by 10.7%. These countervailing effects can be explained ...