Warning, Learning and Compliance: Evidence from Micro-Data on Driving Behavior
Posted: 22 Dec 2011 Last revised: 19 Mar 2012
Date Written: December 21, 2011
In many contexts, warning systems of law enforcement are used to let uninformed individuals learn what is illegal, while sanctions are applied only after a number of repeated violations. Surprisingly no empirical evidence is available so far, over the learning impact of warnings. This paper is a first attempt to empirically investigate the warning’s effect on individuals’ behavior employing a unique database on a traffic law enforcement system, which constitutes an extraordinary natural laboratory to test whether experience warning induces learning. Specifically, we use six-year longitudinal data on about 50000 drivers under the Italian point-record system of traffic law. Our statistical results show that warned drivers become more compliant. To the extent individuals learn through their repeated behavior, a warning system makes it possible to apply sanctions only to (presumably) informed violators.
Keywords: warning, law enforcement, mixture models
JEL Classification: C14, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation