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The Political Cycle of Road Traffic Accidents

Paola Bertoli and Veronica Grembi

CERGE-EI Working Papers from The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague

Abstract: Road traffic accidents often mean lost productivity and medical expenditures. We explain trends in traffic accidents as a function of the political cycle using municipal data from Italy. We show that during municipal election years, the accident rate increases by 2.2%, with a 2.5% increase in the injury rate but no effect on the fatality rate. The effects are stronger in the two quarters prior the quarter in which the election is held, when the electoral campaign is intense, and in the second quarter after the election, when the elected mayor takes office. We argue that this is the result of a decrease in ticket rates during election years, as the expenditures on traffic police increase. Our results are robustly driven by the municipal political cycle defined in different ways, and their magnitude and direction are not explained by spillover effects between municipalities. Proximity to a national police station reduces the impact of local elections on injury rates.

Keywords: road traffic accidents; political cycle; municipalities; elections (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D72 H70 H75 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018-12
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-pol, nep-tre and nep-ure
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Journal Article: The political cycle of road traffic accidents (2021) Downloads
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