Does the Vocational Economic Rationale Have Merit? – An Appraisal


N. C. Ostrofe. 2014. Does the Vocational Economic Rationale Have Merit? – An Appraisal. Journal of Legal Economics 20(1–2): pp. 61–83.

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The Vocational Economic Rationale is the standard employed by Vocational Economics, Inc. in conducting a Vocational Economic Assessment. A Vocational Economic Assessment is a forecast of future lost earnings based upon diminished earning capacity in cases of permanent disability or death. The Rationale defines ‘‘the principles underlying the assessments of lost earnings’’ and presents ‘‘the methodology employed in conducting a Vocational Economic Assessment’’ (VER, 2009, p. 2). Revised and updated periodically, the most recent version of the Rationale (7/15/13) numbers 26 pages and is considerably expanded from its original 1998 version. This article, however, responds to the 10/1/2009 version, which has been copyrighted and published.
Vocational Economics, Inc. is ‘‘a national, forensic consulting firm, specializing in defining economic damages’’ (Vocational Economics, Inc., 2014). Its Chief Executive Officer is Anthony M. Gamboa, Jr., Ph.D. Dr. Gamboa is the author of the New Work-life Expectancy Tables, which use data on disability to calculate work-life expectancies for disabled and non-disabled workers.
This article seeks to independently evaluate the Vocational Economic Rationale. While the Rationale is not an independent standard (it is a copyrighted publication of Vocational Economics, Inc.), this does not necessarily mean it is without merit. To evaluate the Rationale, I have asked one question of it. Does the Vocational Economic Rationale (VER) help judges and juries to award economic damages that are more equitable or more accurate than conventional methods, such as relying upon the combined testimony of medical, vocational, and economic experts? If this requirement is satisfied, then the Assessment and the Rationale can be said to truly advance forensic economic and vocational practice, providing superior tools for measuring economic damages.
The VER is comprised of an Introduction, theoretical sections addressing ‘‘Disability Issues’’, ‘‘Meeting Daubert and Frye Criteria’’, and ‘‘The Effect of Disability’’, and passages explaining Vocational Economics’ method of calculating economic damages with respect to ‘‘Earning Capacity’’, ‘‘Work-life Expectancy’’, and ‘‘Present Value for Future Lost Earnings’’. The VER concludes with a ‘‘Summary’’ explaining how the attached Vocational Economic Assessment (an assessment performed for a particular individual) conforms to the principles identified in the VER. Each section of the VER will be discussed in the order in which it appears in the published 2009 version of the document. Bold headings that follow are presented as they appear in the VER.


N. C. Ostrofe


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