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General and specific information in deterring traffic violations: Evidence from a randomized experiment

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  • Lu, Fangwen
  • Zhang, Jinan
  • Perloff, Jeffrey M.

Abstract

In a large-scale field experiment, a random sample of car owners in Tsingtao, China received one of four cell phone text messages from the police. Three groups received general messages, urging them to drive safely, warning them about the widespread use of electronic traffic monitors, or describing the penalty for running a red light. The fourth group received personalized messages about how many traffic tickets they had received from electronic monitors. During the subsequent month, drivers who received general messages were as likely to commit a traffic violation as were drivers in the control group, while those who received a personalized message committed 14% fewer traffic violations. A personalized message did not prevent subsequent violations if it simply repeated information that was known to drivers, and only new information on traffic tickets had a deterrence effect.

Suggested Citation

  • Lu, Fangwen & Zhang, Jinan & Perloff, Jeffrey M., 2016. "General and specific information in deterring traffic violations: Evidence from a randomized experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 97-107.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:123:y:2016:i:c:p:97-107
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2015.12.009
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:pubeco:v:155:y:2017:i:c:p:11-20 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Felix Koelle & Tom Lane & Daniele Nosenzo & Chris Starmer, 2017. "Nudging the electorate: what works and why?," Discussion Papers 2017-16, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    3. Robert Dur & Ben Vollaard, 2013. "Salience of Law Enforcement: A Field Experiment," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 17-007/VII, Tinbergen Institute.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Information; Deterrence effect; Police enforcement; Traffic violation;

    JEL classification:

    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • D84 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Expectations; Speculations

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