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Understanding the Cell Phone Effect on Motor Vehicle Fatalities Using Classical and Bayesian Methods

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Microsoft Word - 2008-24 Blattenberger Cell phone.doc DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMICS WORKING PAPER SERIES Understanding the Cell Phone Effect on Motor Vehicle Fatalities Using Classical and Bayesian Methods Gail Blattenberger Richard Fowles Peter D. Loeb and Wm. A. Clarke Working Paper No: 2008-24 University of Utah Department of Economics 1645 East Central Campus Dr., Rm. 308 Salt Lake City, UT 84112-9300 Tel: (801) 581-7481 Fax: (801) 585-5649 http://www.econ.utah.edu 2 Understanding the Cell Phone Effect on Motor Vehicle Fatalities Using Classical and Bayesian Methods Gail Blattenberger Department of Economics, University of Utah Richard Fowles Department of Economics and Institute of Public and International Affairs, University of Utah Peter D. Loeb Department of Economics, Rutgers University, NJ Wm. A. Clarke Department of Economics, Bentley University, MA Acknowledgements: Loeb gratefully acknowledges the research support of a Rutgers University Research Council Grant. Tianda Xing and Stephanie Jensen provided research support funded by the Departments of Economics at Rutgers University and the University of Utah. This paper was presented at the 2009 Annual Meeting of the Transportation and Public Utilities Group/Allied Social Sciences Meeting in San Francisco, CA. 3 I. Introduction Motor vehicle accidents continue to result in large numbers of fatalities each year. In 2006, for example, there were over 42,700 fatalities associated with these accidents.1 As such, the determinants of these accidents and methods to reduce them continue to be of great interest to economists, public health officials, and policy makers. To date, numerous studies have been conducted to attempt to determine the causes of motor

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