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Intended and Unintended Consequences of Youth Bicycle Helmet Laws

Listed author(s):
  • Christopher S. Carpenter
  • Mark Stehr

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.

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File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/652902
Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/652902
Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal The Journal of Law and Economics.

Volume (Year): 54 (2011)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 305-324

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:doi:10.1086/652902
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLE/

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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.
  2. Viscusi, W Kip & Aldy, Joseph E, 2003. "The Value of a Statistical Life: A Critical Review of Market Estimates throughout the World," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 27(1), pages 5-76, August.
  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.
  5. repec:reg:rpubli:282 is not listed on IDEAS
  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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