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Does Social Capital Promote Safety on the Roads?

14 Pages Posted: 27 Feb 2013  

Matthew G. Nagler

The City College of New York - Department of Economics

Date Written: April 2013

Abstract

I present evidence that social capital reduces traffic accidents and related death and injury, using data from a 10‐year panel of 48 U.S. states. The econometric challenge is to distinguish the causal effects of social capital from bias resulting from its correlation with unobservable characteristics by state that influence road risks. I accomplish this by employing snow depth as an instrument, and by restricting attention to summertime accidents. My results show that social capital has a statistically significant and sizable negative effect on crashes, traffic fatalities, serious traffic injuries, and pedestrian fatalities that holds up across a range of specifications.

JEL Classification: R41, I18, Z13

Suggested Citation

Nagler, Matthew G., Does Social Capital Promote Safety on the Roads? (April 2013). Economic Inquiry, Vol. 51, Issue 2, pp. 1218-1231, 2013. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2225673 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1465-7295.2011.00411.x

Matthew G. Nagler (Contact Author)

The City College of New York - Department of Economics ( email )

Convent Avenue at 138th Street
New York, NY 10031
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.ccny.cuny.edu/facultysites/mnagler

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