Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1940134
 
 

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Life and Death in the Fast Lane: Police Enforcement and Traffic Fatalities


Benjamin Hansen


University of Oregon - Department of Economics

Gregory J. DeAngelo


Texas Tech University - Department of Economics and Geography

May 24, 2013


Abstract:     
This paper estimates the causal effect of police on traffic fatalities and injuries. Due to simultaneity, estimating the causal effect of police on crime is often difficult. We overcome this obstacle by focusing on a mass layoff of Oregon State Police in February of 2003, stemming from changes in property tax assessment in the prior decade. Due solely to budget cuts, 35 percent of the roadway troopers were laid off, which dramatically reduced citations. The subsequent decrease in enforcement is associated with a significant increase in injuries and fatalities, with the strongest effects under fair weather conditions outside of city-limits where state police employment levels are most relevant. The effects are similar using control groups chosen either geographically or through data-driven methods. Our estimates suggest that a highway fatality can be prevented with $309,000 of expenditures on state police.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 40

Keywords: Enforcement, Police and Crime, Deterrence, Traffic Fatalities, Roadway Safety

JEL Classification: K1, K4, H4, R4

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Date posted: October 8, 2011 ; Last revised: May 25, 2013

Suggested Citation

Hansen, Benjamin and DeAngelo, Gregory J., Life and Death in the Fast Lane: Police Enforcement and Traffic Fatalities (May 24, 2013). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1940134 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1940134

Contact Information

Benjamin Hansen (Contact Author)
University of Oregon - Department of Economics ( email )
Eugene, OR 97403
United States
Gregory Joseph DeAngelo
Texas Tech University - Department of Economics and Geography ( email )
Lubbock, TX 79409-2101
United States
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