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Evaluating the effectiveness of policies related to drunk driving


  • Daniel Eisenberg

    (School of Public Health, University of California-Berkeley)


New findings are presented on the effectiveness (in terms of fatal crash reductions) of state-level public policies related to drunk driving. Conventional estimates of policy effects might be biased because of the endogeneity of policies; this concern is addressed by analyzing the time pattern of policy effects with respect to the date of adoption. For the 0.08 BAC law, the results suggest that a bias upward exists, but the policy is still somewhat effective. Graduated licensing programs for young drivers and the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) organization are also evaluated for the first time in this type of analysis. The estimated time pattern of effects for graduated licensing suggest that its effects are also overstated in conventional analyses, but the policy is still effective for young drivers. The estimates for MADD do not imply an effect, but this result could be due to the crudeness of the variable used. © 2003 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel Eisenberg, 2003. "Evaluating the effectiveness of policies related to drunk driving," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(2), pages 249-274.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:22:y:2003:i:2:p:249-274
    DOI: 10.1002/pam.10116

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Ruhm, Christopher J., 1996. "Alcohol policies and highway vehicle fatalities," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 435-454, August.
    2. Benson, Bruce L. & Rasmussen, David W. & Mast, Brent D., 1999. "Deterring drunk driving fatalities: an economics of crime perspective1," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 205-225, June.
    3. Steven D. Levitt & Jack Porter, 1999. "Estimating the Effect of Alcohol on Driver Risk Using Only Fatal Accident Statistics," NBER Working Papers 6944, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Chaloupka, Frank J & Saffer, Henry & Grossman, Michael, 1993. "Alcohol-Control Policies and Motor-Vehicle Fatalities," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(1), pages 161-186, January.
    5. Jonathan Gruber, 2001. "Risky Behavior among Youths: An Economic Analysis," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number grub01-1, Juni.
    6. Hingson, R. & Heeren, T. & Winter, M., 1996. "Lowering state legal blood alcohol limits to 0.08%: The effect on fatal motor vehicle crashes," American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, vol. 86(9), pages 1297-1299.
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