Saturday, April 30, 2011
Does Ticket Fixing Make Us Dumb?
Wall Street Journal
April 28, 2011
As New Yorkers have learned in recent weeks, parking tickets don’t exactly have the force of law for all motorists in our fair city. The ticket-fixing investigation into the New York Police Department has revealed “a lot of evidence” that vehicular infractions can be made to vanish, as Mayor Michael Bloomberg said last week.
Yet blowing off tickets hasn’t been the exclusive privilege of those with personal connections to helpful police officers. A new academic paper looks back at the era when foreign diplomats in New York City were free to flout parking rules without paying fines. And the findings just might leave New Yorkers feeling downright dumb, in light of our widespread ticket-fixing ways.
George Mason University economists Garett Jones and J.V.C. Nye set out to solve a riddle: What makes someone likely to obey the law in situations where there’s no chance for punishment? Before 2003, diplomats enjoyed just this type of impunity when parking on city streets. Hundreds of United Nations representatives and foreign consulate officials in New York were free to ignore parking tickets issued by police without fear that their vehicles would be impounded.
Read the Paper
Posted by Yulie Foka at 12:26 AM