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Subjective Beliefs, Deterrence, and the Propensity to Drive While Intoxicated

Yiqun Chen, Frank Sloan

NBER Working Paper No. 20680
Issued in November 2014
NBER Program(s):Health Economics Program

This study investigates causal effects of changes in subjective probabilities of being pulled over and involved in accidents if driving while intoxicated on individuals’ drinking and driving choices. We also examine how hypothetical changes in perceptions of sanction severity affect drunk driving by experiments randomizing the harshness of punishments. We find that higher perceived risks of being pulled over and involved in accidents deter drinking and driving. However, deterrence is limited to persons who are alcohol addicted, lack of self-control over drinking, and are more impulsive. No deterrent effect of harsher legal punishments is found on individuals’ drunk driving choices.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w20680

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