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Lowering blood alcohol content levels to save lives: A European case study

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  • Daniel Albalate

    (Universitat de Barcelona)

Abstract

Road safety has become an increasing concern in developed countries due to the significant amount of fatalities and the associated economic losses. Only in 2005 these losses rose to 200,000 million euros, a considerable sum approximately 2% of GDP that easily justifies any public intervention. One measure taken by governments to address this issue is to enact stricter policies and regulations. Since drunk driving is one of the greatest concerns among public authorities in this field, several European countries have lowered their illegal Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) levels to 0.5 mg/ml during the last decade. This study is the first evaluation of the effectiveness of this transition using European panel-based data (CARE) for the period 1991-2003 with the differences-in-differences method in a fixed effects estimation that allows for any pattern of correlation (Cluster-Robust). The results reveal a positive impact on certain groups of road users and on the whole population when the policy is accompanied by enforcement interventions. Moreover, positive results appeared after a time lag of over two years. Finally, I state the importance of controlling for serial correlation in the evaluation of this type of policy.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Universitat de Barcelona. Espai de Recerca en Economia in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 173.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bar:bedcje:2007173

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Postal: Espai de Recerca en Economia, Facultat de Ciències Econòmiques. Tinent Coronel Valenzuela, Num 1-11 08034 Barcelona. Spain.
Web page: http://www.ere.ub.es
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  1. Patrick McCarthy, 2003. "Alcohol-related crashes and alcohol availability in grass-roots communities," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(11), pages 1331-1338.
  2. Ruhm, Christopher J., 1996. "Alcohol policies and highway vehicle fatalities," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 435-454, August.
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  7. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2002. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," NBER Working Papers 8841, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Besley, Timothy & Case, Anne, 2000. "Unnatural Experiments? Estimating the Incidence of Endogenous Policies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(467), pages F672-94, November.
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  10. Reagan Baughman & Michael Conlin & Stacy Dickert-Conlin & John Pepper, 2000. "Slippery When Wet: The Effects of Local Alcohol Access Laws on Highway Safety," Center for Policy Research Working Papers 31, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
  11. Steven D. Levitt & Jack Porter, 1999. "Estimating the Effect of Alcohol on Driver Risk Using Only Fatal Accident Statistics," NBER Working Papers 6944, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. 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.
  13. Saffer, Henry & Grossman, Michael, 1987. "Drinking Age Laws and Highway Mortality Rates: Cause and Effect," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 25(3), pages 403-17, July.
  14. Daniel Eisenberg, 2003. "Evaluating the effectiveness of policies related to drunk driving," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(2), pages 249-274.
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