Red Ink in the Rearview Mirror: Local Fiscal Conditions and the Issuance of Traffic Tickets

FRB of St. Louis Working Paper No. 2006-048B

Posted: 29 Nov 2006  

Thomas A. Garrett

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis - Research Division

Gary Wagner

University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Date Written: July 2007

Abstract

Municipalities have revenue motives for enforcing traffic laws in addition to public safety motives because many traffic offenses are punished via fines and the issuing municipality often retains the revenue. Anecdotal evidence supports this revenue motive. We empirically test this revenue motive using panel data on North Carolina counties. We find that significantly more tickets are issued in the year following a decline in revenue, but the issuance of traffic tickets does not decline in years following revenue increases. Our results suggest that tickets are used as a revenue generation tool rather than solely a means to increase public safety.

Keywords: traffic tickets, public safety, political interest, law enforcement

JEL Classification: H72, D72

Suggested Citation

Garrett, Thomas A. and Wagner, Gary, Red Ink in the Rearview Mirror: Local Fiscal Conditions and the Issuance of Traffic Tickets (July 2007). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=947831 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.947831

Thomas A. Garrett (Contact Author)

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis - Research Division ( email )

411 Locust St
Saint Louis, MO 63011
United States

Gary Wagner

University of Arkansas at Little Rock ( email )

Little Rock, AK 72201
United States

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