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The Response of Criminals and Noncriminals to Fines

Avner Bar-ilan and Bruce Sacerdote ()

Journal of Law and Economics, 2004, vol. 47, issue 1, 1-17

Abstract: We use traffic data from a series of experiments in Israel and San Francisco to examine how illegal behavior is deterred by higher fines and whether deterrence varies with personal characteristics such as criminal record, driving record, income, and age. We find that red-light running decreases sharply in response to an increase in the fine. The elasticity of violations with respect to the fine is larger for younger drivers and drivers with older cars. Criminals convicted of violent offenses or property offenses run more red lights on average but have the same elasticity as drivers without a criminal record. Within Israel, members of ethnic minority groups have the smallest elasticity with respect to a fine increase.

Date: 2004
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