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Playing Well with Others: The Role of Social Capital in Traffic Accident Prevention

Matthew Nagler ()

Eastern Economic Journal, 2013, vol. 39, issue 2, 172-200

Abstract: Using data from a panel of 48 US states during 1997–2006, I present evidence that social capital reduces fatal traffic accidents by fostering pro-social behavior among drivers. I estimate simultaneous equation systems that model the incidence of interpersonal interaction-related vs non-interaction-related traffic outcomes, in which variation in endogenous social capital is identified using snow depth. My results show that social capital has a larger relative effect on multi-vehicle and junction-related fatalities and fatal crashes, incidents with respect to which motorist interaction is most critical to outcomes. The findings are robust to alternative specifications and measures of social capital.

Date: 2013
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