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Greasy Roads: The Impact of Bad Financial News on Road Traffic Accidents

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Abstract

We use evidence from a natural experiment in Greece to study the effect of the announcement of austerity measures on road traffic accidents (RTAs). We use daily RTA data from 2010 and 2011, during which a number of austerity measures were announced, including salary and pension cuts and an increase in direct and indirect taxes. We find that controlling for other factors potentially influencing RTAs, the number of RTAs increased significantly on the first two days following the announcements of austerity measures. We put forward some tentative suggestions for why this happens.

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