The Engine Immobilizer: A Non-Starter for Car Thieves

28 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2013

See all articles by Jan C. van Ours

Jan C. van Ours

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

Ben Vollaard

CentER, Tilburg University

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 2013

Abstract

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.

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

JEL Classification: H11, H23, K42

Suggested Citation

van Ours, Jan C. and Vollaard, Ben, The Engine Immobilizer: A Non-Starter for Car Thieves (January 2013). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP9298. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2210268

Jan C. Van Ours (Contact Author)

Tilburg University - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands
+31 13 466 2880 (Phone)
+31 13 466 3042 (Fax)

University of Melbourne - Department of Economics ( email )

Melbourne, 3010
Australia

Ben Vollaard

CentER, Tilburg University ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands

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