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Red ink in the rearview mirror: local fiscal conditions and the issuance of traffic tickets

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  • Thomas A. Garrett
  • Gary A. Wagner

Abstract

Municipalities have revenue motives for enforcing traffic laws in addition to public safety motives because many traffic offenses are punished via fines and the issuing municipality often retains the revenue. Anecdotal evidence supports this revenue motive. We empirically test this revenue motive using panel data on North Carolina counties. We find that significantly more tickets are issued in the year following a decline in revenue, but the issuance of traffic tickets does not decline in years following revenue increases. Our results suggest that tickets are used as a revenue generation tool rather than solely a means to increase public safety. ; Formerly titled: Are traffic tickets countercyclical?

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas A. Garrett & Gary A. Wagner, 2007. "Red ink in the rearview mirror: local fiscal conditions and the issuance of traffic tickets," Working Papers 2006-048, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlwp:2006-048
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    Cited by:

    1. Chris Mothorpe & W. William Woolsey & Russell S. Sobel, 2021. "Do political motivations and strategic considerations influence municipal annexation patterns?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 188(3), pages 385-405, September.
    2. Sarah Marx Quintanar, 2017. "Man vs. machine: An investigation of speeding ticket disparities based on gender and race," Journal of Applied Economics, Universidad del CEMA, vol. 20, pages 1-28, May.
    3. Makofske, Matthew, 2020. "Pretextual Traffic Stops and Racial Disparities in their Use," MPRA Paper 100792, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Makowsky, Michael & Sanders, Shane, 2013. "Political costs and fiscal benefits: The political economy of residential property value assessment under Proposition 212," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 120(3), pages 359-363.
    5. Michael D. Makowsky & Thomas Stratmann, 2011. "More Tickets, Fewer Accidents: How Cash-Strapped Towns Make for Safer Roads," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 54(4), pages 863-888.
    6. Bracco, Emanuele, 2018. "A fine collection: The political budget cycle of traffic enforcement," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 164(C), pages 117-120.
    7. Roach Michael, 2015. "Is the Highway Patrol Really Tougher on Out-of-State Drivers? An Empirical Analysis," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 15(2), pages 769-796, April.
    8. Matt E. Ryan, 2020. "The heat: temperature, police behavior and the enforcement of law," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 49(2), pages 187-203, April.
    9. Bertoli, Paola & Grembi, Veronica, 2021. "The political cycle of road traffic accidents," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(C).
    10. Yahagi, Ken, 2021. "Law enforcement with motivated agents," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(C).

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