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Deterrence and knowledge of the law: The case of drunk driving

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  • Donald Kenkel
  • Steven Koch

Abstract

During the past decade, hundreds of new state laws have increased the certainty, severity and swiftness of punishment for drunk driving. These new laws can deter drunk driving only to the extent people know about them. In this empirical paper the role incomplete information plays in an econometric model of drunk driving deterrence is explored. Little evidence is found that people know the applicable laws in their states. However, some evidence of rational behaviour is found given their lack of knowledge of these laws. It is difficult to reconcile these results with studies that have found drunk driving deterrence effects of more severe penalties, more certain penalties, or even swifter penalties.

Suggested Citation

  • Donald Kenkel & Steven Koch, 2001. "Deterrence and knowledge of the law: The case of drunk driving," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(7), pages 845-854.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:33:y:2001:i:7:p:845-854
    DOI: 10.1080/00036840122060
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    Cited by:

    1. Florian Baumann & Tim Friehe, 2013. "Cheap Talk About The Detection Probability," International Game Theory Review (IGTR), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 15(01), pages 1-16.
    2. French, Michael T. & Gumus, Gulcin & Homer, Jenny F., 2012. "Motorcycle fatalities among out-of-state riders and the role of universal helmet laws," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 75(10), pages 1855-1863.
    3. Tim Friehe, 2009. "Escalating penalties for repeat offenders: a note on the role of information," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 97(2), pages 165-183, June.
    4. Carpenter, Christopher, 2004. "How do Zero Tolerance Drunk Driving Laws work?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 61-83, January.
    5. José Mª Arranz & Ana I. Gil, 2008. "Alcoholic beverages as determinants of traffic fatalities," Alcamentos 0803, Universidad de Alcalá, Departamento de Economía..

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