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Resource Allocation in Public Policy: The Effects of the 65-MPH Speed Limit

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  • Lave, Charles
  • Elias, Patrick
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    Abstract

    In 1987, the U.S. government allowed states to raise speed limits to sixty-five miles per hour on some highways. The authors evaluate the consequences using a resource allocation perspective: the chance to drive faster reallocates traffic from side roads to the safer interstate highways, and a higher speed limit permits highway patrols to shift manpower from speed enforcement to other safety activities. This perspective implied that they should measure the effect of a speed limit by its systemwide rather than its local effects. The authors do so and find that the fatality rate dropped by 3.4-5.1 percent following the speed limit increase. Copyright 1997 by Oxford University Press.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Western Economic Association International in its journal Economic Inquiry.

    Volume (Year): 35 (1997)
    Issue (Month): 3 (July)
    Pages: 614-20

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    Handle: RePEc:oup:ecinqu:v:35:y:1997:i:3:p:614-20

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    Cited by:
    1. Yang, Hai & Wang, Xiaolei & Yin, Yafeng, 2012. "The impact of speed limits on traffic equilibrium and system performance in networks," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 46(10), pages 1295-1307.
    2. Orley Ashenfelter & Michael Greenstone, 2002. "Using Mandated Speed Limits to Measure the Value of a Statistical Life," NBER Working Papers 9094, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Rehim Kılıç & Patrick McCarthy, 2012. "Long-run equilibrium and short-run dynamics between risk exposure and highway safety," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 42(3), pages 899-913, June.
    4. Steven D. Levitt & Jack Porter, 1999. "Sample Selection in the Estimation of Air Bag and Seat Belt Effectiveness," NBER Working Papers 7210, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Johansson-Stenman, Olof & Martinsson, Peter, 2003. "Anyone for Higher Speed Limits? - Self-Interested and Adaptive Political Preferences," Working Papers in Economics 95, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    6. David C. Grabowski & Michael A. Morrisey, 2004. "Gasoline prices and motor vehicle fatalities," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(3), pages 575-593.
    7. Dee, Thomas S. & Sela, Rebecca J., 2003. "The fatality effects of highway speed limits by gender and age," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 79(3), pages 401-408, June.
    8. Steven D. Levitt, 2005. "Evidence that Seat Belts are as Effective as Child Safety Seats in Preventing Death for Children Aged Two and Up," NBER Working Papers 11591, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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