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Traffic safety and vehicle choice: quantifying the effects of the ‘arms race’ on American roads

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  • Shanjun Li

Abstract

The increasing market share of light trucks in the U.S. in recent years has been characterized as an “arms race” where individual purchase of light trucks for better self-protection in collisions nevertheless leads to worse traffic safety for the society. This paper investigates the interrelation between traffic safety and vehicle choice by quantifying the effects of the arms race on vehicle demand, producer performance, and traffic safety. The empirical analysis shows that the accident externality of a light truck amounts to $2,444 in 2006 dollars during vehicle lifetime. Counterfactual simulations suggest that about 12 percent of new light trucks sold in 2006 and 204 traffic fatalities could be attributed to the arms race.

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Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of Applied Econometrics.

Volume (Year): 27 (2012)
Issue (Month): 1 (01)
Pages: 34-62

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Handle: RePEc:wly:japmet:v:27:y:2012:i:1:p:34-62

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Cited by:
  1. Soren T. Anderson & Ian W. H. Parry & James M. Sallee & Carolyn Fischer, 2011. "Automobile Fuel Economy Standards: Impacts, Efficiency, and Alternatives," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 5(1), pages 89-108, Winter.
  2. Thomas Klier & Joshua Linn, 2011. "Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards and the Market for New Vehicles," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 3(1), pages 445-462, October.
  3. Nicolai V. Kuminoff & V. Kerry Smith & Christopher Timmins, 2013. "The New Economics of Equilibrium Sorting and Policy Evaluation Using Housing Markets," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 51(4), pages 1007-62, December.
  4. Michael T. French & Gulcin G. Gumus, 2013. "Macroeconomic Fluctuations and Motorcycle Fatalities in the U.S," Working Papers 2013-12, University of Miami, Department of Economics.
  5. Li, Shanjun & Liu, Yanyan & Zhang, Junjie, 2009. "Lose Some, Save Some: Obesity, Automobile Demand, and Gasoline Consumption in the U.S," Discussion Papers dp-09-34, Resources For the Future.
  6. Kyle Kinler & Jeffrey Wagner, 2014. "Greenness versus safety in vehicle footprint selection," Letters in Spatial and Resource Sciences, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 35-45, March.

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