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Center for Global Development
and The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies present
a Massachusetts Avenue Development Seminar (MADS)* Heckle and Chide:
Results of a Randomized Road Safety Intervention in Kenya
Featuring James Habyarimana
Public Policy Institute, Georgetown University
With discussant Jishnu Das
Development Research Group, World Bank
Tuesday, May 12,2009
12:00pm--1:30pm Lunch will be served
at **please note special location** Johns Hopkins SAIS
Bernstein-Offit Building, 1717 Massachusetts Ave. NW,
5th floor - Room 500
Abstract: In economies with weak enforcement of traffic regulations, drivers who adopt excessively risky behavior impose externalities on other vehicles, and on their own passengers. In light of the difficulties of correcting inter-vehicle externalities associated with weak third-party enforcement, this paper evaluates an intervention that aims instead to correct the intra-vehicle externality between a driver and his passengers, who face a collective action problem when deciding whether to exert social pressure on the driver if their safety is compromised.
We report the results of a field experiment aimed at solving this collective action problem, which empowers passengers to take action. Evocative messages encouraging passengers to speak up were placed inside a random sample of over 1,000 long-distance Kenyan minibuses, or matatus, serving both as a focal point for, and to reduce the cost of, passenger action. Independent insurance claims data were collected for the treatment group and a control group before and after the intervention.
Our results indicate that insurance claims fell by a half to two-thirds, from an annual rate of about 10 percent without the intervention, and that claims involving injury or death fell by at least 50 percent. Results of a driver survey eight months into the intervention suggest passenger heckling was a contributing factor to the improvement in safety.
*The Massachusetts Avenue Development Seminar (MADS) series is an effort by the Center for Global Development and The Paul H Nitze School of Advanced International Studies to take advantage of the incredible concentration of great international development scholars in the Metro Washington, DC area. The series seeks to bring together members of this community and improve communication between them.