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Group attitude and hybrid sanctions: Micro-econometric evidence from traffic law


  • Basili, Marcello
  • Belloc, Filippo
  • Nicita, Antonio


In many legal domains hybrid sanctions – i.e. the joint use of both monetary and non-monetary sanctions – are usually applied. We suggest that one possible rationale behind this form of sanction is targeting group-specific deterrence. For some groups of agents, hybrid sanctions act indeed as a self-selection mechanism such that deterrence is obtained only after a critical threshold of infractions is reached. We apply our model to traffic law infractions and further test it, performing a micro-econometric analysis on a unique dataset of a representative sample of 50,000 Italian drivers, over six years (2003–2009), after the introduction of a penalty points system. Our findings empirically confirm our theoretical predictions. When repeated infractions are at stake, well-designed hybrid sanctions, such as the penalty point system designed for traffic law enforcement, may indeed increase overall deterrence. Our results shed new light on the role of the combined monetary and non-monetary sanctions to perform general and specific deterrence.

Suggested Citation

  • Basili, Marcello & Belloc, Filippo & Nicita, Antonio, 2015. "Group attitude and hybrid sanctions: Micro-econometric evidence from traffic law," Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 325-336.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:transa:v:78:y:2015:i:c:p:325-336 DOI: 10.1016/j.tra.2015.05.019

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    4. D’Antoni, Massimo & Galbiati, Roberto, 2007. "A signaling theory of nonmonetary sanctions," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 204-218.
    5. Nyborg, Karine & Telle, Kjetil, 2004. "The role of warnings in regulation: keeping control with less punishment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(12), pages 2801-2816, December.
    6. Garoupa, Nuno, 1997. " The Theory of Optimal Law Enforcement," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(3), pages 267-295, September.
    7. Isaac Ehrlich, 1996. "Crime, Punishment, and the Market for Offenses," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 43-67, Winter.
    8. Benedettini, Simona & Nicita, Antonio, 2012. "The costs of avoiding accidents: Selective compliance and the ‘Peltzman effect’ in Italy," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 256-270.
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