Stan Smith (economist)

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Stan V. Smith Ph.D. is an American economist trained at the University of Chicago who is credited with coining the term and creating the arguments that launched the hedonic damages theory into the mainstream of legal economics in the 1985 court case Sherrod v. Berry.[1] Now president of a Chicago economic litigation support firm, Smith Economics Group, Ltd.[2] he provides expert testimony in court cases nationwide on all issues of economic damages, from commercial damages (antitrust, patent and business valuation, breach of contract, etc.) to personal injury damages, including cases where it can be argued the quality of someone's life has been diminished or lost.


Stan Smith was born in 1946 in Wisconsin. Smith received his master's degree in economics in 1972 from the University of Chicago's Graduate School of Business, and subsequently he received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago in 1997. Smith held a position as a Staff Economist at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors until 1974. At this point, Smith went on to work for companies such as JPMorgan Chase Bank, The December Group, and Ibbotson Associates before heading back to academia to teach as an Adjunct Professor at DePaul University from 1990 to 1994. In 1979 while at the December Group, a Chicago private equity firm, Smith initiated the successful search and salvage of the famed 1641 sunken Spanish Treasure Galleon La Concepción, with partners Burt D. Webber, Jr. and Warren C. Stearns. As Managing Director at Ibbotson Associates in 1983, Smith created the Stock Bonds Bills and Inflation Series now published by Morningstar, Inc. Later, with Michael Brookshire in 1990, Smith co-authored the first textbook in the field of Forensic Economics published by Anderson, Cincinnati, in 1990: Economic/Hedonic Damages, and created and taught the first course in the nation in Forensic Economics at DePaul University. He was a member of the Board of Editors of the Journal of Forensic Economics for over a decade and served a term as a Vice-President and Member of the board of the National Association of Forensic Economics. Smith lives in Chicago and is married with 5 children.


In 1985, a case came before the 7th circuit court of appeals in which a police officer shot and killed an unarmed man he believed to be armed. The case, Sherrod v. Berry, made popular the use of hedonic damages to determine the intangible economic value of life lost.[3] In short, hedonic damages attempt to determine how highly a person valued their own life, and receive proportionate compensation. Smith brought the first use of the hedonic damages concept into the limelight with his economic model and testimony in this case, with both positive and negative opinions of the concept over the next few years. Such testimony has now been admitted in hundreds of trials nationwide in over two thirds the states and two thirds the federal circuit courts.

In 1990, Smith published an article in the Journal of Forensic Economics titled 'Hedonic Damages and Personal Injury: A Conceptual Approach' along with co-authors Edward P. Berla and Michael L. Brookshire.[4] This article introduced and developed a case for the Lost Pleasure of Life scale, an idea which would later be put to many uses. According to the book 'Assessment of Rehabilitative and Quality of Life Issues in Litigation', this approach provided a theoretical model to quantify the loss of pleasure of life, something which hadn't existed previously.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Barrett, Paul M. Price of Pleasure - New Legal Theorists Attach a Dollar Value To the Joys of Living. (1988, Dec.12). The Wall Street Journal, p. A1.
  2. ^ Media, Integrated New. "Economic Expert Witness - Smith Economics Group, Ltd". Retrieved 2018-03-21.
  3. ^ Franz, Wolfgang (1996).The meaning of hedonic damages in tort ligigation: a note. Journal of Forensic Economics. 55-57.
  4. ^ Berla, E.P., Brookshire, M.L., & Smith, S.V. (1990). Hedonic Damages and Personal Injury: A Conceptual Approach. Journal of Forensic Economics.
  5. ^ Murphy, Patricia, J.M. Williams (1998). Assessment of Rehabilitative and Quality of Life Issues in Litigation . CRC Press.

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