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Traffic fatalities: does income inequality create an externality?

Nejat Anbarci (), Monica Escaleras and Charles A. Register

Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, 2009, vol. 42, issue 1, 244-266

Abstract: Abstract Responsible for 20 million severe injuries and/or deaths annually, few epidemics receive less attention than traffic accidents. Going beyond confirming an inverted U‐shaped relationship between mean income and fatalities, we show theoretically that income inequality can positively affect fatalities in two ways. Each operates through heterogeneity between road users, and while the direct effect can be expected to evaporate with rising income, the indirect effect may prove to be an externality in that the relationship remains regardless of the level of income. Our model is supported by evidence from 79 countries between 1970 and 2000. Les graves accidents de la route font plus de 20 millions de blessés graves et/ou de morts chaque année. Peu d’épidémies aussi graves reçoivent aussi peu d’attention. Tentant d’aller plus loin que de confirmer la relation en U inversé entre revenu moyen et accidents, on montre théoriquement que l’inégalité de revenus peut affecter les accidents graves d’une manière positive et ce de deux façons. Chacune des façons opère via l’hétérogénéité des utilisateurs de la route: alors qu’on peut espérer que l’effet direct va disparaître avec la croissance des revenus, l’effet indirect peut être le fait d’un effet externe qui reste en place quel que soit le niveau de revenu. Le modèle est validé par des données pour 79 pays entre 1970 et 2000.

Date: 2009
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https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-5982.2008.01507.x

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