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The Engine Immobilizer: A Non-Starter for Car Thieves

Jan C. Van Ours

Tilburg University - Department of Economics; University of Melbourne - Department of Economics

Ben Vollaard

TILEC, Tilburg University; CentER, Tilburg University

January 14, 2013

CentER Discussion Paper Series No. 2013-004
TILEC Discussion Paper No. 2013-001

We provide evidence for a beneficial welfare impact of a crime policy that is targeted at strenghtening victim precaution. Regulation made application of the electronic engine immobilizer, a simple and low-cost anti-theft device, mandatory for all new cars sold within the European Union as of 1998. We exploit the regulation as source of exogenous variation in use of the device by year of manufacture of cars. Based on detailed data at the level of car models, we find that uniform application of the security device reduced the probability of car theft by an estimated 50 percent on average in the Netherlands during 1995-2008, accounting for both the protective effect on cars with the device and the displacement effect on cars without the device. The costs per prevented theft equal some 1,500 Euro; a fraction of the social benefits of a prevented car theft.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 27

Keywords: car theft, government regulation, crime, victim precaution

JEL Classification: K42, H11, H23

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Date posted: January 18, 2013  

Suggested Citation

van Ours, Jan C. and Vollaard, Ben, The Engine Immobilizer: A Non-Starter for Car Thieves (January 14, 2013). CentER Discussion Paper Series No. 2013-004; TILEC Discussion Paper No. 2013-001. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2202165 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2202165

Contact Information

Jan C. Van Ours (Contact Author)
Tilburg University - Department of Economics ( email )
P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, 5000 LE
+31 13 466 2880 (Phone)
+31 13 466 3042 (Fax)
University of Melbourne - Department of Economics ( email )
Melbourne, 3010
Ben Vollaard
TILEC, Tilburg University ( email )
Warandelaan 2
Tilburg, 5000 LE
HOME PAGE: http://www.tilburguniversity.edu/webwijs/show/?uid=b.a.vollaard
CentER, Tilburg University ( email )
P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, 5000 LE
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References:  44
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