TEA: Volume 8 (2006)

TEA.8.0 – 2006. The Earnings Analyst 8: 106pp.

TEA.8.1Substance Abuse and Its Impact on Employment and Earnings for Blue Collar Workers.  Allyn B. Needham and Shannon H. Shipp.  This report examines the impact substance abuse has on unskilled and semi-skilled workers as they attempt to re-enter the workplace. Substance abuse knows no ethnic, religious or socio-economic boundaries and individuals who have this chronic, yet manageable, disease come from all walks of life. But, studies show that blue collar workers with substance abuse problems incur greater economic damage than white collar abusers. Research has shown that white collar abusers continue to earn at levels similar to those of their non-abusing peers. On the other hand, blue collar workers have been found to earn at levels 15% below their non-abusing peers. Using data from the U.S. Department of Labor and the state of Washington’s Department of Social and Health Services, this report provides data to experts seeking to estimate future employment and earnings for identified blue collar abusers. It will examine the dynamics of the workplace, demographics of substance abusers and the impact of substance abuse on workers re-entering the labor market with or without participating in a treatment recovery program.

TEA.8.2Markov Model Worklife Expectancies and Association of American Railroads Type Worklife Expectancies of Railroad Workers Based on the Twenty-Second Actuarial Valuation of the US Railroad Retirement Board.  Gary R. Skoog and James E. Ciecka.  In an earlier paper (Skoog and Ciecka, 1998), we unmasked and clarified the methodology embedded in the worklife expectancy tables produced by the accounting firm Coopers and Lybrand (by Charles Sherfey) under contract with the Association of American Railroads (AAR) in 1995. In addition, we provided a set of exact-age worklife tables based on a similar, but improved, methodology; and we provided a worklife table based on a Markov process model (increment-decrement methodology) of railroad workers. Those tables were based on data from the Twentieth Actuarial Valuation (TAV, 1997) of the US Railroad Retirement Board, and the increment-decrement table was additionally based on 1992-93 transition probabilities. Here, we update our Markov table for railroad workers by using mortality and retirement data from the Twenty-Second Actuarial Valuation (TSAV, 2003) and transition probabilities used by Skoog and Ciecka in their recent work on years of labor market activity (2001a, 2001b, and 2002). We provide a new table of AAR type worklives based on the TSAV.

TEA.8.3Tort Remedy in the Law versus Economic Restitution for Personal Injury and Wrongful Death.  Patrick Fitzgerald and Kurt V. Krueger.  When harm is inflicted on a victim in a tort, the victim usually incurs a cost and societies have developed tort laws in order to allow their victims the ability to recover those costs. Much of the legal literature regarding appropriate tort remedy has to do with the questions ‘for what to compensate the victim’ and ‘who pays the cost?’ Differing from the legal view, the general economic study of appropriate tort remedy focuses on efficiency in optimal tort cost reduction, namely to minimize the sum of the costs of accidents and the costs of avoiding them. In this paper, we offer some comparisons between the nature of tort remedy in the law and economics and the tort damages that are often calculated in forensic economics (which are guided by jurisdictional evidentiary rules and the choice of economic methodology to calculate loss). In particular, we focus on the treatment of lost earnings as a measure of legal and economic damages.

TEA.8.4The Role of the Vocational Expert in Personal Injury Litigation.  Carol Bennett and Barbara A. Dunlap.    Economists and/or Vocational Experts are often asked by attorneys to perform projections which substantiate an injured person’s losses or damages in personal injury lawsuits or other legal claims in various jurisdictions and courts. In today’s tort sensitive public arena, juries may be either conservative or liberal in monetary awards for pain and suffering. Both plaintiff and defense attorneys are interested in fact-based, objective opinions on actual damages which an individual has incurred such as loss of earning capacity, vocational options, and/or whether one can work at all in light of functional capacities and physical or mental limitations. A qualified Vocational Expert is the key in cases involving adults with total disability, permanent partial disability, and even with childhood injuries resulting in permanent physical and/or mental disabilities. This article discusses the role of the Vocational Expert (VE), when to use a VE, and factors to consider in selecting a VE.

TEA.8.5Historical Net Discount Rate – An Update Through 2005.  Thomas R. Ireland.    The eight tables presented in this article are updated versions of the eight tables that were presented in publications by this author that contained calculations through 1999 [Ireland, 2000] and updates through 2001 [Ireland, 2000-01] and 2003 [Ireland, 2002]. A basic rule for all calculations provided in this series has been that the data in making the calculations must come from the Economic Report of the President (henceforth ERP). Tables 1-4 now begin with 1956 and end with 2005, allowing 50 year comparisons to be made between various discount rates and both the CPI (Consumer Price Index) and the MCPI (Medical Consumer Price Index). Tables 5-8 begin with 1965 and end with 2005, allowing 40 year comparisons to be made between various discount rates and Average Weekly Earnings for all American workers.

TEA.8.6Attorney’s Fees Under New York’s Revised Medical Malpractice Law: A Life-Care Application.  Anthony H. Riccardi.    This article concerns New York medical-malpractice awards for future life care of plaintiffs and the rules which govern plaintiffs’ attorney-fee determination. The two pertinent statutes which are now applicable to New York medical-malpractice recoveries are the newly revised periodic payment law, CPLR 50-A, and the longstanding sliding fee scale, Judicial Law 474-a. The fee-computation illustrations presented here show that, for verdict awards of future life care, these statutes lead to relatively small fee shortfalls, which are inevitable, though unintended, outcomes. The newly revised periodic payment statute, CPLR 50-A, is provided as Appendix A to this paper.