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Traffic Safety and Vehicle Choice: Quantifying the Effects of the "Arms Race" on American Roads

  • Li, Shanjun

    ()

    (Resources for the Future)

The increasing market share of light trucks in the U.S. in recent years has been characterized as an “arms race” where individual purchase of light trucks for better self-protection in collisions nevertheless leads to worse traffic safety for the society. This paper investigates the interrelation between traffic safety and vehicle choice by quantifying the effects of the arms race on vehicle demand, producer performance, and traffic safety. The empirical analysis shows that the accident externality of a light truck amounts to $2,444 in 2006 dollars during vehicle lifetime. Counterfactual simulations suggest that about 12 percent of new light trucks sold in 2006 and 204 traffic fatalities could be attributed to the arms race.

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Paper provided by Resources For the Future in its series Discussion Papers with number dp-09-33.

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Date of creation: 31 Aug 2009
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Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-09-33
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.rff.org

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  1. Thomas DeLeire & Christopher Timmins, 2008. "Roy Model Sorting and Non-Random Selection in the Valuation of a Statistical Life," NBER Working Papers 14364, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. Anderson, Michael, 2008. "Safety for whom? The effects of light trucks on traffic fatalities," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 973-989, July.
  8. Kenneth A. Small & Kurt Van Dender, 2007. "Fuel Efficiency and Motor Vehicle Travel: The Declining Rebound Effect," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 25-52.
  9. Amil Petrin, 2002. "Quantifying the Benefits of New Products: The Case of the Minivan," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(4), pages 705-729, August.
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  11. repec:cdl:compol:217 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. Shanjun Li & Roger von Haefen & Christopher Timmins, 2008. "How Do Gasoline Prices Affect Fleet Fuel Economy?," NBER Working Papers 14450, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Pierre-Andre Chiappori & Bernard Salanie, 2000. "Testing for Asymmetric Information in Insurance Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(1), pages 56-78, February.
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