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Deterrence, Incapacitation and Enforcement Design. Evidence from Traffic Enforcement in Italy

  • Simona Benedettini


  • Antonio Nicita


We investigate the deterrent effect on driving behavior due to the introduction of Demerit Point System in Italy. In addition, we measure the incapacitation effect on fatal accidents. Our findings highlight the high potential of the penalty system in reducing road fatalities through deterrence and incapacitation. Despite this, its aggregate effectiveness in Italy ultimately depended on the consistency of the enforcement design. We then suggest several policy options to increase road safety through a credible enforcement.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Siena in its series Department of Economics University of Siena with number 564.

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Date of creation: Aug 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:usi:wpaper:564
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  1. Sah, Raaj K, 1991. "Social Osmosis and Patterns of Crime," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(6), pages 1272-95, December.
  2. Aldo Rustichini & Uri Gneezy, 2000. "A fine is a price," Natural Field Experiments 00258, The Field Experiments Website.
  3. Bebchuk, Lucian Arye & Kaplow, Louis, 1992. "Optimal Sanctions When Individuals Are Imperfectly Informed about the Probability of Apprehension," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(2), pages 365-70, June.
  4. Kaplow, Louis, 1990. "Optimal Deterrence, Uninformed Individuals, and Acquiring Information about Whether Acts Are Subject to Sanctions," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(1), pages 93-128, Spring.
  5. Richard Tay, 2005. "General and Specific Deterrent Effects of Traffic Enforcement: Do we have to Catch Offenders to Reduce Crashes?," Journal of Transport Economics and Policy, London School of Economics and University of Bath, vol. 39(2), pages 209-224, May.
  6. 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.
  7. Polinsky, Mitchell & Shavell, Steven, 1979. "The Optimal Tradeoff between the Probability and Magnitude of Fines," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(5), pages 880-91, December.
  8. Levitt, Steven D. & Miles, Thomas J., 2007. "Empirical Study of Criminal Punishment," Handbook of Law and Economics, Elsevier.
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