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Deadlier road accidents? Traffic safety regulations and heterogeneous motorists’ behavior

Madhav S. Aney and Christine Ho ()

Regional Science and Urban Economics, 2019, vol. 77, issue C, 155-171

Abstract: In 2003, China enacted the Road Traffic Safety Law in an attempt to promote traffic safety. We employ a difference-in-differences strategy on province level data, where fire accidents are used as a control group for road accidents, to estimate the effects of the law on road accidents and casualties. Our findings suggest that while the law was successful in decreasing the number of accidents and casualties, the ratio of deaths to accidents and injuries to accidents increased. Exploring the potential channels, we find no evidence that “hit-and-kill” incentives, that is, incentives for motorists to kill the pedestrians that they hit due to China's peculiar personal injury compensation rules, drive the increase in death to accident ratio. We show that an increase in the severity of accidents could, in fact, be consistent with a model where all motorists drive more carefully after the reform, but have heterogeneous responses such that the decrease in accident probability is larger for safer than for riskier drivers.

Keywords: Road safety regulations; Traffic accidents; Accident deadliness (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: H54 K32 R41 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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