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Resource Allocation in Public Policy: The Effects of the 65-MPH Speed Limit

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  • Lave, Charles
  • Elias, Patrick

Abstract

In 1987, the U.S. government allowed states to raise speed limits to sixty-five miles per hour on some highways. The authors evaluate the consequences using a resource allocation perspective: the chance to drive faster reallocates traffic from side roads to the safer interstate highways, and a higher speed limit permits highway patrols to shift manpower from speed enforcement to other safety activities. This perspective implied that they should measure the effect of a speed limit by its systemwide rather than its local effects. The authors do so and find that the fatality rate dropped by 3.4-5.1 percent following the speed limit increase. Copyright 1997 by Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Lave, Charles & Elias, Patrick, 1997. "Resource Allocation in Public Policy: The Effects of the 65-MPH Speed Limit," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 35(3), pages 614-620, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:ecinqu:v:35:y:1997:i:3:p:614-20
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Olof Johansson-Stenman & Peter Martinsson, 2005. "Anyone for higher speed limits? – Self-interested and adaptive political preferences," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 122(3), pages 319-331, March.
    2. Orley Ashenfelter & Michael Greenstone, 2004. "Using Mandated Speed Limits to Measure the Value of a Statistical Life," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(S1), pages 226-267, February.
    3. Dee, Thomas S. & Sela, Rebecca J., 2003. "The fatality effects of highway speed limits by gender and age," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 79(3), pages 401-408, June.
    4. Wang, Xiaolei & Ye, Hongbo & Yang, Hai, 2015. "Decentralizing Pareto-efficient network flow/speed patterns with hybrid schemes of speed limit and road pricing," Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, Elsevier, vol. 83(C), pages 51-64.
    5. Rehim Kılıç & Patrick McCarthy, 2012. "Long-run equilibrium and short-run dynamics between risk exposure and highway safety," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 42(3), pages 899-913, June.
    6. David C. Grabowski & Michael A. Morrisey, 2004. "Gasoline prices and motor vehicle fatalities," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(3), pages 575-593.
    7. Steven D. Levitt & Jack Porter, 2001. "Sample Selection In The Estimation Of Air Bag And Seat Belt Effectiveness," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(4), pages 603-615, November.
    8. Yang, Hai & Wang, Xiaolei & Yin, Yafeng, 2012. "The impact of speed limits on traffic equilibrium and system performance in networks," Transportation Research Part B: Methodological, Elsevier, vol. 46(10), pages 1295-1307.
    9. Steven D. Levitt, 2008. "Evidence that Seat Belts Are as Effective as Child Safety Seats in Preventing Death for Children Aged Two and Up," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(1), pages 158-163, February.

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