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More Tickets, Fewer Accidents: How Cash-Strapped Towns Make for Safer Roads

Michael Makowsky () and Thomas Stratmann ()

No 2009-02, Working Papers from Towson University, Department of Economics

Abstract: Traffic accidents are one of the leading causes of injury and death in the U.S. The role of traffic law enforcement in the reduction of accidents has been studied by relatively few papers and with mixed results that may be due to a simultaneity problem. Traffic law enforcement may reduce accidents, but police are also likely to be stricter in accident- prone areas. We use municipal budgetary shortfalls as an instrumental variable to identify the effect of traffic citations on traffic safety and show that budgetary shortfalls lead to more frequent issuance of tickets to drivers. Using a panel of municipalities in Massachusetts, we show that increases in the number of tickets written reduce motor vehicle accidents and accident related injuries. The findings show that failure to control for endogeneity results in a significant underestimation of the positive impact of law enforcement on traffic safety.

Keywords: Traffic accidents; safety; law enforcement; simultaneity. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: K32 K42 H71 C33 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hea, nep-law and nep-ure
Date: 2009-06, Revised 2009-06
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http://webapps.towson.edu/cbe/economics/workingpapers/2009-02.pdf First version, 2009 (application/pdf)

Related works:
Journal Article: More Tickets, Fewer Accidents: How Cash-Strapped Towns Make for Safer Roads (2011) Downloads
Working Paper: More Tickets, Fewer Accidents: How Cash-Strapped Towns Make for Safer Roads (2008) Downloads
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