Economics at your fingertips  

The accident externality of driving: Evidence from observance of the Jewish Sabbath in Israel

Issi Romem and Ity Shurtz

Journal of Urban Economics, 2016, vol. 96, issue C, 36-54

Abstract: We document and measure an externality of driving, whereby a driver’s decision to take to the road affects fellow drivers risk of accident. Because religious Jews refrain from driving during the Sabbath, traffic on Israeli roads decreases sharply when the Sabbath begins each Friday, at a precisely defined time before sundown, and increases after the Sabbath ends on Saturday evening, at a precisely defined time after sunset. Using plausibly exogenous variation in traffic volume associated with the Sabbath, we estimate the effect of traffic volume on the risk of fatal or injurious accident. We find that a positive accident externality emerges only at the Sabbath exit, when traffic volumes are greater. Remarkably similar results arise when the analysis is confined to non-Jewish drivers, whose travel choices are not bound by the precise timing of the Sabbath, supporting the interpretation that our findings reflect an externality. Finally, the effect emerges mainly on a class of road sections that is considered highly perilous, suggesting that the interaction of traffic volume and road perilousness is important for understanding this issue and shaping implicated policy.

Date: 2016
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (6) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

Access Statistics for this article

Journal of Urban Economics is currently edited by S.S. Rosenthal and W.C. Strange

More articles in Journal of Urban Economics from Elsevier
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Dana Niculescu ().

Page updated 2019-03-31
Handle: RePEc:eee:juecon:v:96:y:2016:i:c:p:36-54