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Deterrence and knowledge of the law: The case of drunk driving

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During the past decade, hundreds of new state laws have increased the certainty, severity and swiftness of punishment for drunk driving. These new laws can deter drunk driving only to the extent people know about them. In this empirical paper the role incomplete information plays in an econometric model of drunk driving deterrence is explored. Little evidence is found that people know the applicable laws in their states. However, some evidence of rational behaviour is found given their lack of knowledge of these laws. It is difficult to reconcile these results with studies that have found drunk driving deterrence effects of more severe penalties, more certain penalties, or even swifter penalties.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2001-06-01

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