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Buckle up or slow down? New estimates of offsetting behavior and their implications for automobile safety regulation

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  • Robert S. Chirinko
  • Edward P. Harper

Abstract

This study provides a detailed examination of the determinants of motor vehicle fatalities and offers a new assessment of the effects of automobile safety regulation. An empirical analysis is difficult because drivers are unlikely to remain passive in the face of changes in their safety environment. This offsetting behavior hypothesis is cast in a broad framework that brings together elements from the economics and cognition literatures. This approach allows us to highlight key maintained assumptions in previous analyses and to consider how econometric evidence can inform discussions about highway safety policy. The econometric estimates reveal that, while imprecisely estimated, offsetting behavior is quantitatively important and attenuates the effects of safety regulation on total motor vehicle fatalities. Cognitive elements, the relative costs of repairs, and the functional form of the estimating equation are shown to play prominent roles in the analysis of safety regulation. Our estimates imply that current highway policy initiatives-mandating restraint systems and relaxing restrictions on the maximum speed limit-are likely to have only a modest net effect on reducing motor vehicle fatalities.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.

Volume (Year): 12 (1993)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 270-296

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Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:12:y:1993:i:2:p:270-296

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Web page: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/34787/home

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  1. Cornell, N. & Noll, Roger G. & Weingast, B., . "Safety Regulation," Working Papers, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences 122, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  2. Colin F. Camerer & Howard Kunreuther, 1989. "Decision processes for low probability events: Policy implications," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 8(4), pages 565-592.
  3. Peltzman, Sam, 1975. "The Effects of Automobile Safety Regulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(4), pages 677-725, August.
  4. Machina, Mark J, 1987. "Choice under Uncertainty: Problems Solved and Unsolved," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 121-54, Summer.
  5. Crandall, Robert W & Graham, John D, 1984. "Automobile Safety Regulation and Offsetting Behavior: Some New Empirical Estimates," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 328-31, May.
  6. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-38, May.
  7. Arrow, Kenneth J, 1982. "Risk Perception in Psychology and Economics," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, Western Economic Association International, vol. 20(1), pages 1-9, January.
  8. V. Kerry Smith & William H. Desvousges & F. Reed Johnson & Ann Fisher, 1990. "Can public information programs affect risk perceptions?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 9(1), pages 41-59.
  9. Layson, Stephen K & Seaks, Terry G, 1984. "Estimation and Testing for Functional Form in First Difference Models," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 66(2), pages 338-43, May.
  10. Blomquist, Glenn C, 1979. "Value of Life Saving: Implications of Consumption Activity," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(3), pages 540-58, June.
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Cited by:
  1. Heather E. Campbell, 1996. "The politics of requesting: Strategic behavior and public utility regulation," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(3), pages 395-423.
  2. Dickie, M. & Gerking, S.D., 1997. "Genetic risk factors and offsetting behavior: The case of skin cancer," Open Access publications from Tilburg University urn:nbn:nl:ui:12-4742874, Tilburg University.
  3. Michael Grimm & Carole Treibich, 2013. "Why Do Some Bikers Wear a Helmet and Others Don't? Evidence from Delhi, India," AMSE Working Papers 1348, Aix-Marseille School of Economics, Marseille, France, revised 10 Oct 2013.
  4. Clifford Winston & Vikram Maheshri & Fred Mannering, 2006. "An exploration of the offset hypothesis using disaggregate data: The case of airbags and antilock brakes," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 83-99, March.
  5. Darren Grant & Stephen M. Rutner, 2004. "The effect of bicycle helmet legislation on bicycling fatalities," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(3), pages 595-611.
  6. Grimm, Michael & Treibich, Carole, 2014. "Why Do Some Motorbike Riders Wear a Helmet and Others Don't? Evidence from Delhi, India," IZA Discussion Papers 8042, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Anindya Sen & Brent Mizzen, 2007. "Estimating the Impact of Seat Belt Use on Traffic Fatalities: Empirical Evidence from Canada," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, University of Toronto Press, vol. 33(3), pages 315-336, September.
  8. repec:reg:wpaper:155 is not listed on IDEAS

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