An Exploration of the Offset Hypothesis Using Disaggregate Data: the Case of Airbags and Antilock Brakes

20 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2007

See all articles by Clifford Winston

Clifford Winston

AEI-Brookings Joint Center for Regulatory Studies

Vikram Maheshri

University of California, Berkeley

Fred Mannering

Purdue University

Date Written: May 2006

Abstract

The offset hypothesis predicts consumers adapt to innovations that improve safety by becoming less vigilant about safety. Previous tests have used aggregate data that may confound the effect of a safety policy with those consumers who are most affected by it. We test the hypothesis using disaggregate data to analyze the effects of airbags and antilock brakes on automobile safety. We find that safety-conscious drivers are more likely than other drivers to acquire airbags and antilock brakes but these safety devices do not have a significant effect on collisions or injuries, suggesting drivers trade off enhanced safety for speedier trips.

Keywords: safety, offset hypothesis

JEL Classification: H00

Suggested Citation

Winston, Clifford and Maheshri, Vikram and Mannering, Fred, An Exploration of the Offset Hypothesis Using Disaggregate Data: the Case of Airbags and Antilock Brakes (May 2006). AEI-Brookings Joint Center Working Paper No. 06-10. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=980069 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.980069

Clifford Winston (Contact Author)

AEI-Brookings Joint Center for Regulatory Studies ( email )

1150 17th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20036
United States

Vikram Maheshri

University of California, Berkeley ( email )

310 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Fred Mannering

Purdue University ( email )

610 Purdue Mall
West Lafayette, IN 47907
United States

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