Thursday, April 2, 2009

The excuse is saftey the goal is revenue

Now we have the economic literature to confirm what we all know is happening: local governments using traffic citations to make up for revenue shortfalls.

According to a paper in the February Journal of Law and Economics, published by the University of Chicago, “as the economy tanks, motorists may be more likely to see red and blue in the rearview.” Study authors Thomas Garrett, assistant vice president at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, and Gary Wagner from the University of arkansas Little Rock, examined 14 years of revenue and traffic citation data from counties in North Carolina. Revenues drop, traffic citations go up. Specifically, “a one percentage point decrease in last year’s local government revenue results in roughly a 0.32 percentage point increase in the number of traffic tickets the following year.”

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