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Traffic Safety and Vehicle Choice: Quantifying the Effects of the "Arms Race" on American Roads

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  • Li, Shanjun

    ()
    (Resources for the Future)

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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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Resources For the Future in its series Discussion Papers with number dp-09-33.

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Date of creation: 31 Aug 2009
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Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-09-33

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Keywords: accident externality; automobile demand; random coefficient demand model;

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  1. Crandall, Robert W & Graham, John D, 1989. "The Effect of Fuel Economy Standards on Automobile Safety," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 32(1), pages 97-118, April.
  2. Pierre-Andre Chiappori & Bernard Salanie, 2000. "Testing for Asymmetric Information in Insurance Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(1), pages 56-78, February.
  3. Shanjun Li & Christopher Timmins & Roger H. von Haefen, 2009. "How Do Gasoline Prices Affect Fleet Fuel Economy?," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 113-37, August.
  4. Aaron S. Edlin, 2003. "Per-Mile Premiums for Auto Insurance," Law and Economics 0303001, EconWPA.
  5. Ted Gayer, 2004. "The Fatality Risks of Sport-Utility Vehicles, Vans, and Pickups Relative to Cars," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 28(2), pages 103-133, 03.
  6. Viscusi, W Kip & Aldy, Joseph E, 2003. " The Value of a Statistical Life: A Critical Review of Market Estimates throughout the World," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 5-76, August.
  7. repec:cdl:compol:217 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Dreyfus, Mark K & Viscusi, W Kip, 1995. "Rates of Time Preference and Consumer Valuations of Automobile Safety and Fuel Efficiency," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(1), pages 79-105, April.
  9. Amil Petrin, 2002. "Quantifying the Benefits of New Products: The Case of the Minivan," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(4), pages 705-729, August.
  10. Berry, Steven & Levinsohn, James & Pakes, Ariel, 1995. "Automobile Prices in Market Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(4), pages 841-90, July.
  11. Anderson, Michael, 2008. "Safety for whom? The effects of light trucks on traffic fatalities," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 973-989, July.
  12. Goldberg, Pinelopi Koujianou, 1995. "Product Differentiation and Oligopoly in International Markets: The Case of the U.S. Automobile Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(4), pages 891-951, July.
  13. Thomas DeLeire & Shakeeb Khan & Christopher Timmins, 2013. "Roy Model Sorting And Nonrandom Selection In The Valuation Of A Statistical Life," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 54(1), pages 279-306, 02.
  14. Kenneth A. Small & Kurt Van Dender, 2007. "Fuel Efficiency and Motor Vehicle Travel: The Declining Rebound Effect," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 25-52.
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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. Klier, Thomas & Linn, Joshua, 2010. "Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards and the Market for New Vehicles," Discussion Papers dp-10-68, Resources For the Future.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. French, Michael T. & Gumus, Gulcin, 2014. "Macroeconomic fluctuations and motorcycle fatalities in the U.S," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 187-193.

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