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SUMMARY

Traffic accidents result in 1 million deaths annually worldwide, though the burden is disproportionately felt in poorer countries. Typically, fatality rates from disease and accidents fall as countries develop. Traffic deaths, however, regularly increase with income, at least up to a threshold level, before declining. While we confirm this by analyzing 1,356 country-year observations between 1982 and 2000, our purpose is to consider the role played by public sector corruption in determining traffic fatalities. We find that such corruption, independent of income, plays a significant role in the epidemics of traffic fatalities that are common in relatively poor countries.