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From the DUH! files...

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Old July 23rd 07, 04:56 AM posted to rec.autos.driving
Brent P[_1_]
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Default From the DUH! files...


Political Economy at Any Speed: What Determines Traffic Citations?
Michael Makowsky
Department of Economics
George Mason University
Thomas Stratmann
Department of Economics
George Mason University
January 2007
In this paper we study the political economy determinants of traffic
fines. Speeding tickets are not only determined by the speed of the
offender, but by incentives faced by police officers and their vote
maximizing principals. Our model predicts that police officers issue
higher fines when drivers have a higher opportunity cost of contesting a
ticket, and when drivers do not reside in the community where they are
stopped. The model also predicts that local officers are more likely to
issue a ticket when legal limits prevent the local government from
increasing revenues though other instruments such as property taxes. We
find support for the hypotheses. The farther the residence of a driver
from the municipality where the ticket could be contested, the higher is
the likelihood of a speeding fine, and the larger the amount of the fine.
The probability of a fine issued by a local officer is higher in towns
when constraints on increasing property taxes are binding, the property
tax base is lower, and the town is more dependent on revenues from
tourism. For state troopers, who are not employed by the local, but the
state government, we do not find evidence that the likelihood traffic
fines varies with town characteristics. Finally, personal
characteristics, such as gender and race are among the determinants of
traffic fines.


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