IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/9602.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Effect of Automobile Insurance and Accident Liability Laws in Traffic Fatalities

Author

Listed:
  • Alma Cohen
  • Rajeev Dehejia

Abstract

This paper investigates the incentive effects of automobile insurance, compulsory insurance laws, and no-fault liability laws on driver behavior and traffic fatalities. We analyze a panel of 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia from 1970-1998, a period in which many states adopted compulsory insurance regulations and/or no-fault laws. Using an instrumental variables approach, we find evidence that automobile insurance has moral hazard costs, leading to an increase in traffic fatalities. We also find that reductions in accident liability produced by no-fault liability laws have led to an increase in traffic fatalities (estimated to be on the order of 6%). Overall, our results indicate that, whatever other benefits they might produce, increases in the incidence of automobile insurance and moves to no-fault liability systems have significant negative effects on traffic fatalities.

Suggested Citation

  • Alma Cohen & Rajeev Dehejia, 2003. "The Effect of Automobile Insurance and Accident Liability Laws in Traffic Fatalities," NBER Working Papers 9602, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9602
    Note: LE PE
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w9602.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Aaron S. Edlin & Pinar Karaca-Mandic, 2006. "The Accident Externality from Driving," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(5), pages 931-955, October.
    2. Edlin, Aaron S., 1999. "Per-Mile Premiums for Auto Insurance," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt06g53189, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
    3. Steven Shavell, 2003. "Economic Analysis of Accident Law," NBER Working Papers 9694, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Aaron S. Edlin, 1999. "Per-Mile Premiums for Auto Insurance," NBER Working Papers 6934, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Ruhm, Christopher J., 1996. "Alcohol policies and highway vehicle fatalities," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 435-454, August.
    6. Steven D. Levitt & Jack Porter, 2001. "Sample Selection In The Estimation Of Air Bag And Seat Belt Effectiveness," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(4), pages 603-615, November.
    7. Keeton, William R & Kwerel, Evan, 1984. "Externalities in Automobile Insurance and the Underinsured Driver Problem," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(1), pages 149-179, April.
    8. Spence, Michael & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1971. "Insurance, Information, and Individual Action," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(2), pages 380-387, May.
    9. Imbens, Guido W & Angrist, Joshua D, 1994. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 467-475, March.
    10. Steven D. Levitt & Jack Porter, 2001. "How Dangerous Are Drinking Drivers?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(6), pages 1198-1237, December.
    11. Viscusi, W. Kip, 1996. "Fatal Tradeoffs: Public and Private Responsibilities for Risk," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195102932.
    12. Devlin, R.A., 1988. "Liability Versus No-Fault Automobile Insurance Regimes: An Analysis Of The Experience In Quebec," Working Papers 88126, Wilfrid Laurier University, Department of Economics.
    13. Cummins, J David & Phillips, Richard D & Weiss, Mary A, 2001. "The Incentive Effects of No-Fault Automobile Insurance," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44(2), pages 427-464, October.
    14. Gur Huberman & David Mayers & Clifford W. Smith Jr., 1983. "Optimal Insurance Policy Indemnity Schedules," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 14(2), pages 415-426, Autumn.
    15. Steven Shavell, 1982. "On Liability and Insurance," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(1), pages 120-132, Spring.
    16. Marshall H. Medoff & Joseph P. Magaddino, 1982. "An Empirical Analysis of No-Fault Insurance," Evaluation Review, , vol. 6(3), pages 373-392, June.
    17. Peltzman, Sam, 1975. "The Effects of Automobile Safety Regulation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(4), pages 677-725, August.
    18. Steven Shavell, 1979. "On Moral Hazard and Insurance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 93(4), pages 541-562.
    19. Michelle J. White, 1989. "An Empirical Test of the Comparative and Contributory Negligence Rules in Accident Law," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 20(3), pages 308-330, Autumn.
    20. Landes, Elisabeth M, 1982. "Insurance, Liability, and Accidents: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation of the Effect of No-Fault Accidents," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25(1), pages 49-65, April.
    21. Alma Cohen & Liran Einav, 2003. "The Effects of Mandatory Seat Belt Laws on Driving Behavior and Traffic Fatalities," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(4), pages 828-843, November.
    22. Sloan, Frank A. & Reilly, Bridget A. & Schenzler, Christoph M., 1994. "Tort liability versus other approaches for deterring careless driving," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 53-71, March.
    23. J.D. Angrist & Guido W. Imbens & D.B. Rubin, 1993. "Identification of Causal Effects Using Instrumental Variables," NBER Technical Working Papers 0136, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    24. Steven Shavell, 2000. "On the Social Function and the Regulation of Liability Insurance," The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance - Issues and Practice, Palgrave Macmillan;The Geneva Association, vol. 25(2), pages 166-179, April.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Parry, Ian W. H., 2004. "Comparing alternative policies to reduce traffic accidents," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 346-368, September.
    2. Dionne, Georges & Michaud, Pierre-Carl & Pinquet, Jean, 2013. "A review of recent theoretical and empirical analyses of asymmetric information in road safety and automobile insurance," Research in Transportation Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 85-97.
    3. Elizabeth Kopits & Maureen Cropper, 2008. "Why Have Traffic Fatalities Declined in Industrialised Countries?: Implications for Pedestrians and Vehicle Occupants," Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, University of Bath, vol. 42(1), pages 129-154, January.
    4. repec:ipf:psejou:v:42:y:2018:i:42:p:45-65 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Pavel A. Yakovlev & Christina M. Orr-Magulick, 2018. "On the road again: traffic fatalities and auto insurance minimums," Public Sector Economics, Institute of Public Finance, vol. 42(1), pages 45-65.
    6. Aney, Madhav S. & Ho, Christine, 2019. "Deadlier road accidents? Traffic safety regulations and heterogeneous motorists’ behavior," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 155-171.
    7. Maria De Paola & Vincenzo Scoppa & Mariatiziana Falcone, 2010. "The Deterrent Effects of Penalty Point System in Driving Licenses: A Regression Discontinuity Approach," Working Papers 201004, Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza "Giovanni Anania" - DESF.
    8. Maria De Paola & Vincenzo Scoppa & Mariatiziana Falcone, 2013. "The deterrent effects of the penalty points system for driving offences: a regression discontinuity approach," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 45(2), pages 965-985, October.
    9. White, Michelle J, 2004. "The "Arms Race" on American Roads: The Effect of Sport Utility Vehicles and Pickup Trucks on Traffic Safety," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 47(2), pages 333-355, October.
    10. Mark R. Jacobsen, 2012. "Fuel Economy and Safety: The Influences of Vehicle Class and Driver Behavior," NBER Working Papers 18012, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Vereeck, Lode & Vrolix, Klara, 2007. "The social willingness to comply with the law: The effect of social attitudes on traffic fatalities," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 385-408, December.
    12. Justin Tyndall, 2021. "Pedestrian Deaths and Large Vehicles," Working Papers 2020-4R, University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization, University of Hawaii at Manoa.
    13. Steven D. Levitt & Jack Porter, 2001. "Sample Selection In The Estimation Of Air Bag And Seat Belt Effectiveness," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(4), pages 603-615, November.
    14. Neri, Marcelo Côrtes, 2007. "The state of the youth: prisons, drugs and car crashes," FGV EPGE Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 661, EPGE Brazilian School of Economics and Finance - FGV EPGE (Brazil).
    15. Lv, Jinpeng & Lord, Dominique & Zhang, Yunlong & Chen, Zhi, 2015. "Investigating Peltzman effects in adopting mandatory seat belt laws in the US: Evidence from non-occupant fatalities," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 58-64.
    16. Antonio Nicita & Simona Benedettini, 2012. "The Costs of Avoiding Accidents.Selective Compliance and the 'Peltzman Effect' in Italy," Department of Economics University of Siena 631, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
    17. Lauren E. Jones & Nicolas R. Ziebarth, 2017. "U.S. Child Safety Seat Laws: Are they Effective, and Who Complies?," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 36(3), pages 584-607, June.
    18. Cohen Alma, 2006. "The Disadvantages of Aggregate Deductibles," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 6(1), pages 1-28, April.
    19. Sloan, Frank A & Stout, Emily M & Liang, Lan & Whetten-Goldstein, Kathryn, 2000. "Liability, Risk Perceptions, and Precautions at Bars," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(2), pages 473-501, October.
    20. Clifford Winston & Vikram Maheshri & Fred Mannering, 2006. "An exploration of the offset hypothesis using disaggregate data: The case of airbags and antilock brakes," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 32(2), pages 83-99, March.
    21. Cummins, J David & Phillips, Richard D & Weiss, Mary A, 2001. "The Incentive Effects of No-Fault Automobile Insurance," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44(2), pages 427-464, October.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G22 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Insurance; Insurance Companies; Actuarial Studies
    • J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9602. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.