IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/tow/wpaper/2009-02.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

More Tickets, Fewer Accidents: How Cash-Strapped Towns Make for Safer Roads

Author

Listed:
  • Michael D. Makowsky

    (Department of Economics, Towson University)

  • Thomas Stratmann

    (Department of Economics, George Mason University)

Abstract

Traffic accidents are one of the leading causes of injury and death in the U.S. The role of traffic law enforcement in the reduction of accidents has been studied by relatively few papers and with mixed results that may be due to a simultaneity problem. Traffic law enforcement may reduce accidents, but police are also likely to be stricter in accident- prone areas. We use municipal budgetary shortfalls as an instrumental variable to identify the effect of traffic citations on traffic safety and show that budgetary shortfalls lead to more frequent issuance of tickets to drivers. Using a panel of municipalities in Massachusetts, we show that increases in the number of tickets written reduce motor vehicle accidents and accident related injuries. The findings show that failure to control for endogeneity results in a significant underestimation of the positive impact of law enforcement on traffic safety.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael D. Makowsky & Thomas Stratmann, 2009. "More Tickets, Fewer Accidents: How Cash-Strapped Towns Make for Safer Roads," Working Papers 2009-02, Towson University, Department of Economics, revised Jun 2009.
  • Handle: RePEc:tow:wpaper:2009-02
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://webapps.towson.edu/cbe/economics/workingpapers/2009-02.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2009
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Polinsky, A Mitchell & Shavell, Steven, 1992. "Enforcement Costs and the Optimal Magnitude and Probability of Fines," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(1), pages 133-148, April.
    2. Steven D. Levitt, 2002. "Using Electoral Cycles in Police Hiring to Estimate the Effects of Police on Crime: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1244-1250, September.
    3. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters, in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Keeler, Theodore E, 1994. "Highway Safety, Economic Behavior, and Driving Environment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(3), pages 684-693, June.
    5. Michael D. Makowsky & Thomas Stratmann, 2009. "Political Economy at Any Speed: What Determines Traffic Citations?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 509-527, March.
    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. Christopher J. Ruhm, 2000. "Are Recessions Good for Your Health?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(2), pages 617-650.
    8. Jondrow, James & Bowes, Marianne & Levy, Robert, 1983. "The Optimal Speed Limit," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 21(3), pages 325-336, July.
    9. James H. Stock & Motohiro Yogo, 2002. "Testing for Weak Instruments in Linear IV Regression," NBER Technical Working Papers 0284, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Stock, James H & Wright, Jonathan H & Yogo, Motohiro, 2002. "A Survey of Weak Instruments and Weak Identification in Generalized Method of Moments," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(4), pages 518-529, October.
    11. Loeb, Peter D, 1995. "The Effectiveness of Seat-Belt Legislation in Reducing Injury Rates in Texas," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 81-84, May.
    12. Cutler, David M. & Elmendorf, Douglas W. & Zeckhauser, Richard, 1999. "Restraining the Leviathan: property tax limitation in Massachusetts," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(3), pages 313-334, March.
    13. Justin McCrary, 2002. "Using Electoral Cycles in Police Hiring to Estimate the Effect of Police on Crime: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1236-1243, September.
    14. McCarthy, Patrick S., 1999. "Public policy and highway safety: a city-wide perspective," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 231-244, March.
    15. Thomas A. Garrett & Gary A. Wagner, 2009. "Red Ink in the Rearview Mirror: Local Fiscal Conditions and the Issuance of Traffic Tickets," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 52(1), pages 71-90, February.
    16. Lave, Charles A, 1985. "Speeding, Coordination, and the 55 MPH Limit," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(5), pages 1159-1164, December.
    17. Levitt, Steven D, 1997. "Using Electoral Cycles in Police Hiring to Estimate the Effect of Police on Crime," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 270-290, June.
    18. Bradbury, Katharine L. & Mayer, Christopher J. & Case, Karl E., 2001. "Property tax limits, local fiscal behavior, and property values: evidence from Massachusetts under Proposition," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 287-311, May.
    19. Isaac Ehrlich, 1996. "Crime, Punishment, and the Market for Offenses," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 43-67, Winter.
    20. Eric Helland & Alexander Tabarrok, 2002. "The Effect of Electoral Institutions on Tort Awards," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 4(2), pages 341-370.
    21. Jones, M.M. & Bayer, R., 2007. "Paternalism and its discontents: Motorcycle helmet laws, libertarian values, and public health," American Journal of Public Health, American Public Health Association, vol. 97(2), pages 208-217.
    22. David Merrell & Marc Poitras & Daniel Sutter, 1999. "The Effectiveness of Vehicle Safety Inspections: An Analysis Using Panel Data," Southern Economic Journal, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 65(3), pages 571-583, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Stefan Bauernschuster & Ramona Rekers, 2019. "Speed Limit Enforcement and Road Safety," CESifo Working Paper Series 8024, CESifo.
    2. Castillo-Manzano, José I. & Castro-Nuño, Mercedes & López-Valpuesta, Lourdes & Pedregal, Diego J., 2019. "From legislation to compliance: The power of traffic law enforcement for the case study of Spain," Transport Policy, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 1-9.
    3. Georges Dionne & Ying Liu, 2021. "Effects of Insurance Incentives on Road Safety: Evidence from a Natural Experiment in China," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 123(2), pages 453-477, April.
    4. Bertoli, Paola & Grembi, Veronica, 2021. "The political cycle of road traffic accidents," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(C).
    5. Gregory DeAngelo & R. Kaj Gittings & Amanda Ross & Annie Walker, 2016. "Police Bias in the Enforcement of Drug Crimes: Evidence from Low Priority Laws," Working Papers 16-01, Department of Economics, West Virginia University.
    6. Molitor, Ramona, 2017. "Publicly announced speed limit enforcement and its impact on road safety: Evidence from the German Blitzmarathons," Passauer Diskussionspapiere, Volkswirtschaftliche Reihe V-75-17, University of Passau, Faculty of Business and Economics.
    7. Anna Harvey, 2020. "Applying regression discontinuity designs to American political development," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 185(3), pages 377-399, December.
    8. Michael Makowsky & Thomas Stratmann, 2014. "Politics, unemployment, and the enforcement of immigration law," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 160(1), pages 131-153, July.
    9. Duncan, Kevin Davey, 2020. "Three papers in regional dynamics and panel econometrics," ISU General Staff Papers 202001010800009129, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    10. Wolfgang Eggert & Steffen Minter & Maximilian Stephan & Handirk Ungern-Sternberg, 2017. "Sanctions for repeat offenders: a question of wealth?," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 64(5), pages 467-482, November.

    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. Che, Yi & Xu, Xun & Zhang, Yan, 2018. "Chinese import competition, crime, and government transfers in US," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 544-567.
    2. 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.
    3. Tom Kirchmaier & Stephen Machin & Matteo Sandi & Robert Witt, 2020. "Prices, Policing and Policy: The Dynamics of Crime Booms and Busts," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 18(2), pages 1040-1077.
    4. Milo Bianchi & Paolo Buonanno & Paolo Pinotti, 2012. "Do Immigrants Cause Crime?," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(6), pages 1318-1347, December.
    5. Alejandro Gaviria & Carlos Medina & Jorge Tamayo, 2010. "Assessing the Link between Adolescent Fertility and Urban Crime," BORRADORES DE ECONOMIA 006860, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA.
    6. Yahagi, Ken, 2021. "Law enforcement with motivated agents," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(C).
    7. William S. Reece, 2010. "Casinos, Hotels, And Crime," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 28(2), pages 145-161, April.
    8. Maurice J.G. Bun, 2014. "Identifying the impact of deterrence on crime - internal versus external instruments," UvA-Econometrics Working Papers 14-03, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Dept. of Econometrics.
    9. Michael P. Murray, 2006. "Avoiding Invalid Instruments and Coping with Weak Instruments," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(4), pages 111-132, Fall.
    10. Stephen Machin & Olivier Marie, 2011. "Crime And Police Resources: The Street Crime Initiative," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 678-701, August.
    11. Philip A. Curry & Anindya Sen & George Orlov, 2016. "Crime, apprehension and clearance rates: Panel data evidence from Canadian provinces," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 49(2), pages 481-514, May.
    12. Lin, Ming-Jen, 2009. "More police, less crime: Evidence from US state data," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 73-80, June.
    13. Mirko Draca & Stephen Machin & Robert Witt, 2011. "Panic on the Streets of London: Police, Crime, and the July 2005 Terror Attacks," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(5), pages 2157-2181, August.
    14. Stoian, Adrian & Fishback, Price, 2010. "Welfare spending and mortality rates for the elderly before the Social Security era," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 1-27, January.
    15. Bertoli, Paola & Grembi, Veronica, 2021. "The political cycle of road traffic accidents," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(C).
    16. Jonathan Klick & Alexander Tabarrok, 2010. "Police, Prisons, and Punishment: The Empirical Evidence on Crime Deterrence," Chapters, in: Bruce L. Benson & Paul R. Zimmerman (ed.), Handbook on the Economics of Crime, chapter 6, Edward Elgar Publishing.
    17. Amanda Ross & Anne Walker, 2014. "Low Priority Laws and the Allocation of Police Resources," Working Papers 14-06, Department of Economics, West Virginia University.
    18. Amanda Ross & Anne Walker, 2017. "The Impact Of Low-Priority Laws On Criminal Activity: Evidence From California," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 35(2), pages 239-252, April.
    19. Bebonchu Atems, 2020. "Identifying the Dynamic Effects of Income Inequality on Crime," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 82(4), pages 751-782, August.
    20. Steven N. Durlauf & Daniel S. Nagin, 2010. "The Deterrent Effect of Imprisonment," NBER Chapters, in: Controlling Crime: Strategies and Tradeoffs, pages 43-94, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Traffic accidents; safety; law enforcement; simultaneity.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • K32 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Energy, Environmental, Health, and Safety Law
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • H71 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • C33 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models

    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:tow:wpaper:2009-02. 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/detowus.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: Juergen Jung (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/detowus.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.