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The Response to Fines and Probability of Detection in a Series of Experiments

  • Avner Bar-Ilan
  • Bruce Sacerdote

We use traffic data from a series of experiments in the United States and Israel to examine how illegal behavior is deterred by various penalty schemes and whether deterrence varies with age, income, driving record and criminal record. We find that red light running decreases sharply in response to an increase in the fine or an increase in the probability of being caught. The elasticity of violations with respect to the fine is larger for younger drivers and drivers with older cars. Drivers convicted of violent offenses or property offenses run more red lights on average but have the same elasticity as drivers without a criminal record. Within Israel, members of ethnic minority groups have the smallest elasticity with respect to a fine increase.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w8638.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8638.

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Date of creation: Dec 2001
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Publication status: published as Bar-Ilan, Avner and Bruce Sacerdote. "Response to Fines and Probabilities in a Natural Experiment." Journal of Law and Economics 47, 1 (April 2004).
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8638
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  1. Daniel Kessler & Steven D. Levitt, 1998. "Using Sentence Enhancements to Distinguish between Deterrence and Incapacitation," NBER Working Papers 6484, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  10. Neilson, William S. & Winter, Harold, 1997. "On criminals' risk attitudes," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 97-102, August.
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  20. repec:oup:restud:v:54:y:1987:i:2:p:265-77 is not listed on IDEAS
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