On June 28, 2010, Michael Stone defended his dissertation entitled “Three Essays on the Economics of Tort Law.” Stone’s dissertation focused on three distinct areas relating to tort law: the enactment of caps on punitive damages, the impact of taxable costs statutes on settlement rates, and the optimal level of attorney advertising intensity. In the first of these papers, Stone utilized hazard analysis to uncover some support for an economic model justifying caps on punitive damages, though there was evidence that political pressure by the legal services and insurance industries played a role in cap enactment. In his second essay, Stone utilized an ordinary least squares regression with a wild bootstrap and HC3 correction to find some evidence that taxable costs statutes (laws which permit the victorious party at trial to recover authorized litigation-related expenses from the losing party) decreased the rate of settlement. And, in his final essay, Stone produced a theoretical model which weighed the benefits of deterrence against the costs of litigation and advertising to obtain an optimal level of attorney advertising intensity. Each of these works was prepared under the tutelage of his major advisor, Professor Thomas Miceli.
This fall, Stone will be heading to Quinnipiac University as a visiting assistant professor of economics.