Speeding, punishment, and recidivism - evidence from a regression discontinuity design

Gehrsitz, Markus (2017) Speeding, punishment, and recidivism - evidence from a regression discontinuity design. Journal of Law and Economics, 60 (3). pp. 497-528. ISSN 1537-5285

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    Abstract

    This paper estimates the effects of temporary driver's license suspensions on driving behavior. A little known rule in the German traffic penalty catalogue maintains that drivers who commit a series of speeding transgressions within 365 days should have their license suspended for one month. My regression discontinuity design exploits the quasi-random assignment of license suspensions caused by the 365-days cut-off and shows that 1-month license suspensions lower the probability of recidivating within a year by 20 percent. This is largely a specific deterrence effect driven by the punishment itself and not by incapacitation, information asymmetries, or the threat of stiffer future penalties.