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Intended and Unintended Effects of Youth Bicycle Helmet Laws

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  • Christopher S. Carpenter
  • Mark F. Stehr

Abstract

Over 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, as well as in triple difference models of self-reported bicycling among high school youths that explicitly account for bicycling by youths just above the helmet law age threshold. Our results highlight important intended and unintended consequences of a well-intentioned public policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher S. Carpenter & Mark F. Stehr, 2010. "Intended and Unintended Effects of Youth Bicycle Helmet Laws," NBER Working Papers 15658, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15658
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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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. Jonathan Gruber & Jonathan Zinman, 2001. "Youth Smoking in the United States: Evidence and Implications," NBER Chapters,in: Risky Behavior among Youths: An Economic Analysis, pages 69-120 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Carpenter, Christopher S. & Stehr, Mark, 2008. "The effects of mandatory seatbelt laws on seatbelt use, motor vehicle fatalities, and crash-related injuries among youths," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 642-662, May.
    8. Dee, Thomas S., 2009. "Motorcycle helmets and traffic safety," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 398-412, March.
    9. repec:reg:rpubli:282 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Dee, Thomas S., 2009. "Motorcycle helmets and traffic safety," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 398-412, March.
    2. Doucouliagos, Chris & Stanley, T.D. & Giles, Margaret, 2012. "Are estimates of the value of a statistical life exaggerated?," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 197-206.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I0 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - General
    • K0 - Law and Economics - - General

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