Are Female Babies Worth “Less” Than Male Babies?

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Lawrence Spizman (SUNY Oswego, Economics) has posted to SSRN a new paper Damages to a Child and the Fair Calculations Act. Here is the abstract:

The Fair Calculations Act introduced in the House of Representatives (H.R.6417) and Senate(S.3489) seeks to prohibit courts from using race, ethnicity, gender, religion, or actual or perceived sexual orientation in awarding damages to plaintiffs in civil actions. The following case study examines economic damages of a male and female child suffering the same traumatic injury shortly after birth assuming the Fair Calculation Act becomes law.

Some of the interesting conclusions from the paper:

[W]hen gender neutral work-life, earnings, and life expectancy are used, the economic damage awards for females with less than a high school degree increase by $78,133 (0.79 percent) compared to gender specific model increasing $94,553 (.9 percent) with a high school degree. The largest increase for females using gender neutral data is $147,463 (1.19 percent) with a Bachelor’s degree. Male economic losses also increased using gender neutral work-life with less than a high school degree ($30,480 or .031 percent) and with a high school degree ($59,608 or 0.57 percent). Economic loss for males with a college degree declined by $725,661 or 5.46 percent) using gender neutral data.

* * * Assuming the jury awards the same yearly damages for pain and suffering to both children, the pain and suffering award to the female child will decline using gender neutral life expectancy while the male child’s award for pain and suffering will increase. Pain and suffering is always a “wild card” in jury awards but, all things the same, a gender neutral life expectancy will lower the award to a female compared to gender specific life expectancy.

For torts scholars, trusts & estates scholars, tax scholars and others whose work involves life expectancy calculations, this paper is an interesting read.  The full paper is available here.

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