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Do Traffic Tickets Reduce Motor Vehicle Accidents? Evidence from a Natural Experiment

This paper analyzes the effect of traffic tickets on motor vehicle accidents. OLS estimates may be upward-biased because police officers tend to focus on areas where and periods when there is heavy traffic and thus higher rates of accidents. This paper exploits the dramatic increase in tickets during the Click-it-or-Ticket campaign to identify the causal impact of tickets on accidents using data from Massachusetts. I find that tickets significantly reduce accidents and non-fatal injuries. However, there is limited evidence that tickets lead to fewer fatalities. I provide suggestive evidence that tickets have a larger impact at night and on female drivers.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Missouri in its series Working Papers with number 1119.

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Length: 30 pgs.
Date of creation: 05 Oct 2011
Date of revision: 17 Jan 2012
Handle: RePEc:umc:wpaper:1119
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  1. Kate Antonovics & Brian G. Knight, 2009. "A New Look at Racial Profiling: Evidence from the Boston Police Department," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(1), pages 163-177, February.
  2. 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 509-27, March.
  3. Dills, Angela K., 2010. "Social host liability for minors and underage drunk-driving accidents," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 241-249, March.
  4. 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.
  5. Anbarci, Nejat & Lee, Jungmin, 2008. "Speed Discounting and Racial Disparities: Evidence from Speeding Tickets in Boston," IZA Discussion Papers 3903, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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