Intended and Unintended Effects of Youth Bicycle Helmet Laws

30 Pages Posted: 18 Jan 2010

See all articles by Christopher S. Carpenter

Christopher S. Carpenter

University of California, Irvine - Paul Merage School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Mark Stehr

Drexel University

Date Written: January 2010

Abstract

Over 20 states have adopted laws requiring youths to wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. We confirm previous research indicating that these laws reduced fatalities and increased helmet use, but we also show that the laws significantly reduced youth bicycling. We find this result in standard two-way fixed effects models of parental reports of youth bicycling, as well as in triple difference models of self-reported bicycling among high school youths that explicitly account for bicycling by youths just above the helmet law age threshold. Our results highlight important intended and unintended consequences of a well-intentioned public policy.

Suggested Citation

Carpenter, Christopher S. and Stehr, Mark, Intended and Unintended Effects of Youth Bicycle Helmet Laws (January 2010). NBER Working Paper No. w15658. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1537776

Christopher S. Carpenter (Contact Author)

University of California, Irvine - Paul Merage School of Business ( email )

Paul Merage School of Business
Irvine, CA California 92697-3125
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Mark Stehr

Drexel University ( email )

3141 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

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