Speeding, Punishment, and Recidivism: Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Design

54 Pages Posted: 1 May 2017

See all articles by Markus Gehrsitz

Markus Gehrsitz

University of Strathclyde; IZA Institute of Labor Economics


This paper estimates the effects of temporary driver's license suspensions on driving behavior. A little known rule in the German traffic penalty catalogue maintains that drivers who commit a series of speeding transgressions within 365 days should have their license suspended for one month. My regression discontinuity design exploits the quasi-random assignment of license suspensions caused by the 365-days cut-off and shows that 1-month license suspensions lower the probability of recidivating within a year by 20 percent. This is largely a specific deterrence effect driven by the punishment itself and not by incapacitation, information asymmetries, or the threat of stiffer future penalties.

Keywords: crime, speeding, deterrence, regression discontinuity

JEL Classification: I12, K42, R41

Suggested Citation

Gehrsitz, Markus, Speeding, Punishment, and Recidivism: Evidence from a Regression Discontinuity Design. IZA Discussion Paper No. 10707, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2960516

Markus Gehrsitz (Contact Author)

University of Strathclyde ( email )

Department of Economics
199 Cathedral St
Glasgow, G4 0QU
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.markusgehrsitz.com

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

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