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Catching or fining speeders: a political economy approach


  • Eef Delhaye
  • Stef Proost
  • Sandra Rousseau


According to Becker (1968) it is best to use very high fines and low inspection probabilities to deter traffic accidents because inspection is costly. This paper uses a political economy model to analyse the choice of the fine and the inspection probability. There are two lobby groups: the vulnerable road users and the ‘strong’ road users. If only vulnerable road users are effective in lobbying, we find that the expected fine is higher than if only the interests of car drivers are taken into account. When we consider the choice between inspection probability and the magnitude of the fine for a given expected fine, we find that the fine preferred by the vulnerable road users is higher than socially optimal. The reverse holds if only the car drivers are effective lobbyists. The orders of magnitude are illustrated numerically for speeding and contrasted with current fines for drunk driving in the European Union.

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  • Eef Delhaye & Stef Proost & Sandra Rousseau, 2007. "Catching or fining speeders: a political economy approach," Working Papers Department of Economics ces0714, KU Leuven, Faculty of Economics and Business, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ete:ceswps:ces0714

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. De Borger, B. & Dunkerley, F. & Proost, S., 2007. "Strategic investment and pricing decisions in a congested transport corridor," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 294-316, September.
    2. De Borger, Bruno & Van Dender, Kurt, 2006. "Prices, capacities and service levels in a congestible Bertrand duopoly," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 264-283, September.
    3. Jan K. Brueckner, 2002. "Airport Congestion When Carriers Have Market Power," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1357-1375, December.
    4. Daniel, Joseph I. & Harback, Katherine Thomas, 2008. "(When) Do hub airlines internalize their self-imposed congestion delays?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 583-612, March.
    5. Brander, James A. & Spencer, Barbara J., 1985. "Export subsidies and international market share rivalry," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1-2), pages 83-100, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tscharaktschiew, Stefan, 2016. "The private (unnoticed) welfare cost of highway speeding behavior from time saving misperceptions," Economics of Transportation, Elsevier, vol. 7, pages 24-37.

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    Political economy; enforcement; traffic safety;

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