Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Ticket Economics

I hadn’t thought of this:
If you plan to speed, it also pays to be a middle-aged male. For years I have been observing who the police pull over for speeding and who they don’t. A police officer (usually male) has lots of choices for who to ticket for speeding. If he is heterosexual, and stops a heterosexual male, he has no chance of getting sex, and a non-zero chance of getting killed. If he stops a female, he has some chance of being offered sex (or at least some flirting) to get out of the ticket, and not much risk of violence. Cops are rational and make the correct economic decision most of the time. Where I live, about 80% of all motorists who are stopped for speeding are women, and it has been that way since I can remember.
Now, I don’t know if it’s really true that 80% of motorists stopped for speeding are women. But now that I think about it, just about everyone I know who has told me about getting pulled over has been a woman. And about half the time, the officer has let them go. That was the fact that jumped out at me – and struck me as a mild injustice. Now, however, I’m wondering about the net effect. If women are pulled over more often, but those pulled get ticketed less often, I wonder which gender actually gets more tickets?

5 comments:

Crampton said...

I know there have been papers looking at whether the police are more likely to pull over blacks than whites; surely somebody coded gender in one of those papers....

dgm said...

Perhaps I should be offended that I've never been pulled over despite my frequent driving and lead foot?

Your co-blogger Bell has been pulled over on a few occasions; it must be because he's hawt. Well, that and he was speeding.

Ellen said...

Man, I got out of a ticket when I had left my driver's license at home on a different keychain, I was going about 10 miles over the speed limit, and I didn't have the insurance card for the new car with me (although I blame that part on Mom since I was driving her car). But I mostly credit that to the date. It was the day after Valentine's Day. He was probably in a good mood after gettin some the night before.

blink said...

Survey data reported by the Bureau of Justice Statistics suggests that over 60% of invidivuals stopped by police are male (http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/pdf/cdsp02.pdf). Perhaps data limited to pull-overs for speeding and controlling for the speed measured by police would shift the percentages. It is possible, too, that men are more willing to admit to being stopped on surveys. Still, this seems to be pretty strong evidence agaist a theory predicated on the "fact" than women are stopped more frequently than men.

Glen Whitman said...

Blink -- good point and useful data. However, I believe men also drive more miles than women. So it could still be true that women are more likely per mile driven to get pulled over.