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Punishment and Deterrence: Evidence from Drunk Driving

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  • Benjamin Hansen

Abstract

I test the effect of harsher punishments and sanctions on driving under the influence (DUI). In this setting, punishments are determined by strict rules on blood alcohol content (BAC) and previous offenses. Regression discontinuity derived estimates suggest that having a BAC above the DUI threshold reduces recidivism by up to 2 percentage points (17 percent). Likewise having a BAC over the aggravated DUI threshold reduces recidivism by an additional percentage point (9 percent). The results suggest that the additional sanctions experienced by drunk drivers at BAC thresholds are effective in reducing repeat drunk driving. (JEL I12, K42, R41)

Suggested Citation

  • Benjamin Hansen, 2015. "Punishment and Deterrence: Evidence from Drunk Driving," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(4), pages 1581-1617, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:105:y:2015:i:4:p:1581-1617
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.20130189
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • R41 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Transportation Economics - - - Transportation: Demand, Supply, and Congestion; Travel Time; Safety and Accidents; Transportation Noise

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