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Intended and Unintended Consequences of Youth Bicycle Helmet Laws

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  • Christopher S. Carpenter
  • Mark Stehr

Abstract

More than 20 states have adopted laws requiring youths to wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. We confirm previous research indicating that these laws reduced fatalities and increased helmet use, but we also show that the laws significantly reduced youth bicycling. We find this result in standard two-way fixed-effects models of parental reports of youth bicycling and in triple-difference models of self-reported bicycling among high school youths that explicitly account for bicycling by youths just above the age threshold of the helmet law. Our results highlight important intended and unintended consequences of a well-intentioned public policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher S. Carpenter & Mark Stehr, 2011. "Intended and Unintended Consequences of Youth Bicycle Helmet Laws," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(2), pages 305-324.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:doi:10.1086/652902
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Carpenter, Christopher & Cook, Philip J., 2008. "Cigarette taxes and youth smoking: New evidence from national, state, and local Youth Risk Behavior Surveys," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(2), pages 287-299, March.
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    3. Darren Grant & Stephen M. Rutner, 2004. "The effect of bicycle helmet legislation on bicycling fatalities," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(3), pages 595-611.
    4. Dee, Thomas S., 2009. "Motorcycle helmets and traffic safety," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 398-412, March.
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    6. Peltzman, Sam, 1975. "The Effects of Automobile Safety Regulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(4), pages 677-725, August.
    7. Dee, Thomas S. & Grabowski, David C. & Morrisey, Michael A., 2005. "Graduated driver licensing and teen traffic fatalities," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 571-589, May.
    8. Hausman, Jerry & Hall, Bronwyn H & Griliches, Zvi, 1984. "Econometric Models for Count Data with an Application to the Patents-R&D Relationship," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(4), pages 909-938, July.
    9. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-In-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:eee:jhecon:v:57:y:2018:i:c:p:102-112 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Sara Markowitz & Pinka Chatterji, 2015. "Effects Of Bicycle Helmet Laws On Children'S Injuries," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(1), pages 26-40, January.
    3. Lauren E. Jones & Nicolas R. Ziebarth, 2017. "U.S. Child Safety Seat Laws: Are they Effective, and Who Complies?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 36(3), pages 584-607, June.
    4. Cuffe, H.E. & Harbaugh, W.T. & Lindo, J.M. & Musto, G. & Waddell, G.R., 2012. "Evidence on the efficacy of school-based incentives for healthy living," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 1028-1036.
    5. repec:eee:jhecon:v:53:y:2017:i:c:p:87-99 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Gernot Sieg, 2016. "Costs and benefits of a bicycle helmet law for Germany," Transportation, Springer, vol. 43(5), pages 935-949, September.

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