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Traffic and crime

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  • Beland, Louis-Philippe
  • Brent, Daniel A.

Abstract

We study the link between crime and extreme traffic congestion to estimate the psychological costs of traffic. Our empirical analysis combines police incident reports with observations of local traffic data in Los Angeles from 2011 to 2015. This rich dataset allows us to link traffic with criminal activity at a fine spatial and temporal dimension. Our identification relies on deviations from normal traffic to isolate the impact of abnormally high traffic on crime. We find that extreme traffic increases the incidence of domestic violence, a crime shown to be affected by emotional cues, but not other crimes. The result is robust to a variety of specifications and falsification tests. The results represent a lower bound of the psychological costs of traffic congestion, since most drivers stuck in traffic do not commit domestic violence but still bear some emotional costs.

Suggested Citation

  • Beland, Louis-Philippe & Brent, Daniel A., 2018. "Traffic and crime," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 160(C), pages 96-116.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:160:y:2018:i:c:p:96-116
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2018.03.002
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Don’t Fear the Scooter
      by Alon Tal in Project Syndicate on 2019-07-23 11:54:51

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    Cited by:

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    2. Wellmann, Nicolas & Czarnowske, Daniel, 2021. "What would households pay for a reduction of automobile traffic? Evidence from nine German cities," DICE Discussion Papers 361, Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).
    3. Giulietti, Corrado & Tonin, Mirco & Vlassopoulos, Michael, 2020. "When the market drives you crazy: Stock market returns and fatal car accidents," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(C).
    4. Beland, Louis-Philippe & Brodeur, Abel & Haddad, Joanne & Mikola, Derek, 2020. "Covid-19, Family Stress and Domestic Violence: Remote Work, Isolation and Bargaining Power," GLO Discussion Paper Series 571, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    5. Ericsson, Sanna, 2019. "Backlash: Undesirable Effects of Female Economic Empowerment," Working Papers 2019:12, Lund University, Department of Economics, revised 27 Jan 2020.
    6. Louis-Philippe Beland & Abel Brodeur & Joanne Haddad & Derek Mikola, 2020. "Determinants of Family Stress and Domestic Violence: Lessons from the COVID-19 Outbreak," Carleton Economic Papers 20-09, Carleton University, Department of Economics, revised Apr 2021.
    7. Martinho, Gabriela & Gonçalves, Mariana & Matos, Marlene, 2020. "Child trafficking, comprehensive needs and professional practices: A systematic review," Children and Youth Services Review, Elsevier, vol. 119(C).
    8. Brodeur, Abel & Wright, Taylor, 2019. "Terrorism, immigration and asylum approval," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 168(C), pages 119-131.
    9. Brent, Daniel & Beland, Louis-Philippe, 2020. "Traffic congestion, transportation policies, and the performance of first responders," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 103(C).
    10. Louis-Philippe Beland & Daniel A. Brent, 2018. "Traffic and the Provision of Public Goods," Departmental Working Papers 2018-04, Department of Economics, Louisiana State University.
    11. Brodeur, Abel & Cook, Nikolai & Wright, Taylor, 2021. "On the effects of COVID-19 safer-at-home policies on social distancing, car crashes and pollution," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 106(C).
    12. Bencsik, Panka & Lusher, Lester & Taylor, Rebecca, 2021. "Slow Traffic, Fast Food," 2021 Annual Meeting, August 1-3, Austin, Texas 313856, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    13. Stephen R. Barnes & Louis‐Philippe Beland & Jason Huh & Dongwoo Kim, 2022. "COVID‐19 lockdown and traffic accidents: Lessons from the pandemic," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 40(2), pages 349-368, April.
    14. Jones, Benjamin A., 2022. "Dust storms and violent crime," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 111(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Traffic; Crime; Externalities; Domestic violence;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • R28 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Government Policy
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure

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