All-Way Stops

24 Pages Posted: 7 Sep 2022 Last revised: 29 Jan 2023

See all articles by Jiasun Li

Jiasun Li

George Mason University - Department of Finance

Date Written: January 27, 2023


Using economic incentives analysis, we demonstrate significant implications from tweaking the familiar practice in the United States and many other countries of erecting one stop sign in each direction to ensure orderly passing at crossroads. We point out that the existing mechanism does not permit a Nash equilibrium for all drivers to abide by, and prove that erecting one fewer sign (e.g. only three stop signs at a four-way crossroad) does. Not only is the simpler mechanism self-enforcing, but its resulting equilibrium outcome also enjoys significant economic gains. For example, for fuel gas savings alone, the new mechanism is estimated to reduce 0.5 months of gas consumption every year, let alone savings in drivers' time, infrastructure costs, carbon/pollutants emissions, and police expenditure.

Keywords: carbon emission, infrastructure spending, game theory, mechanism design, Nash equilibrium, police funding, traffic

JEL Classification: A12, C72, D49, H79, K39, L99, Q35, Q49, Q53, Q54, R41

Suggested Citation

Li, Jiasun, All-Way Stops (January 27, 2023). George Mason University School of Business Research Paper Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: or

Jiasun Li (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Finance ( email )

Fairfax, VA 22030
United States


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