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CGD in the News

Bus-Riders of the World Unite! (New York Times Freakanomics Blog)

April 29, 2009

The New York Times' Freakanomics blog cites CGD visiting fellow James Habyarimana's paper on traffic safety, Heckle and Chide: Results of a Randomized Road Safety Intervention in Kenya.

From the article:

"It’s interesting how we hear all the time about malaria and mosquito nets (it was even World Malaria Day last week), but we never hear about third-world traffic accidents.

Habyarimana and Jack report the results of a fascinating field experiment they carried out, putting posters in over 1,000 randomly chosen Kenyan mini-buses. The posters told passengers to speak up if the driver drove dangerously.

And it really seems to have worked. Using data on insurance claims, the authors find that the buses that got these posters saw large declines in crashes relative to the control group, and the accident reduction appears to persist, as long as the signs remain posted.

I love it when I stumble onto a paper that A) teaches me some important facts, B) has a clever idea, C) is believable, and D) makes the world a better place."

Read the blog