Policy changes do not occur in vacuums


A rigorous statistical examination [in the Journal of Public Economics] has found that smoking bans increase drunken-driving fatalities. One might expect that a ban on smoking in bars would deter some people from showing up, thereby reducing the number of people driving home drunk. But jurisdictions with smoking bans often border jurisdictions without bans, and some bars may skirt the ban, so that smokers can bypass the ban with extra driving. There is also a large overlap between the smoker and alcoholic populations, which would exacerbate the danger from extra driving. The authors estimate that smoking bans increase fatal drunken-driving accidents by about 13 percent, or about 2.5 such accidents per year for a typical county.

I suppose the question is whether this is transition cost or a long-term effect. Still, well worth thinking about, because second-order effects often dwarf legislative intent. Link via Marginal Revolution.

Posted by Evan @ 02/13/08 12:33 PM


Previous Entry | Home | Next Entry


No comments yet

Add Comments

No flames or impolite behavior. HTML will be stripped. URLs will be transformed into hyperlinks.