Is the law irrelevant...? : an institutional analysis of road safety outcomes

Matulich, Nadia Antonette (2022-04)

Thesis (MCom)--Stellenbosch University, 2022.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY: This thesis aims to investigate the interaction between formal and informal institutions, and the enforcement thereof with the aim of developing an understanding of how to design holistic policy interventions that definitively change outcomes. Many governments choose to turn, primarily, to changes in laws and regulations in order to change economic outcomes. However, the field of institutional economics shows that simply considering legislation is not sufficient. Pejovich (1999) posits that it is extremely difficult to induce change if the formal institutions, or the law, and the informal institutions are not aligned, and that without appropriate accompanying changes in informal institutions and in enforcement, the law itself may be irrelevant in changing outcomes. This institutional framework is applied to consider the most appropriate policy mix for reducing road fatalities. This thesis takes Du Plessis et al. (2020a) as a starting point, which shows that South Africa seems to have ‘all the right laws’ needed to attain low road fatalities, however, outcomes remain poor, and that appropriate changes to enforcement and informal institutions are necessary. This study considers the incidence of road fatalities across the world against the backdrop of their formal institutions, enforcement, and informal institutions, so as better to understand the impact of these factors on economic outcomes. In addition to investigating enforcement, an attempt to open the ‘black box’ of informal institutions is made, to discern which attitudes and values seem to drive law abidance and road behaviour. This thesis combines data from the World Health Organisation on Road Safety, including data on road fatalities across countries, and different regulatory features within these countries, as well as data on norms, values and attitudes from the World Values Survey. Cluster analysis, principal component analysis and multiple correspondence analysis techniques, alongside ordinary least squares are employed, with the aim of exploring and understanding supplemental factors that need to be considered when employing law-making as a tool to change economic outcomes. It is found that, whilst laws still have an important role to play, it is the enforcement thereof that is of paramount importance for improving traffic fatalities. It is also found that in countries with a strong suite of vehicle safety standards, road fatalities are significantly lower than observed in countries without vehicle safety standards. Lastly, informal institutions were found to be strongly correlated with road fatalities. Notably, values associated with political and economic participation, as well as those with social liberalism are most strongly correlated with low road fatalities.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie tesis ondersoek die interaksie tussen formele en informele instellings, en die afdwinging daarvan, met die doel om ’n begrip te ontwikkel oor hoe om holisitiese en effektiewe beleidsinterventies te ontwerp. Baie regerings draai hoofsaaklik na veranderinge in wette en regulasies te wend om ekonomiese uitkomste te verander. Die veld van institusionele ekonomie wys egter dat bloot die oorweging van wetgewing nie voldoende is nie. Pejovich (1999) beweer dat dit uiters moeilik is om verandering teweeg te bring as die formele instellings, of die wet, en die informele instellings nie in lyn gebring is nie, en dat sonder toepaslike veranderinge in informele instellings en in afdwinging, die wet selfs irrelevant kan wees in die verandering van uitkomstes. Hierdie institusionele raamwerk word toegepas om die mees geskikte beleidsmengsel vir die vermindering van padsterftes te oorweeg. Hierdie tesis neem Du Plessis et al. (2019) as 'n beginpunt, wat toon dat Suid-Afrika blykbaar 'al die regte wette' het wat nodig is om lae padsterftes te bereik, maar die uitkomstes bly swak, en dat toepaslike veranderinge aan afdwinging en informele instellings nodig is. Hierdie studie beskou die voorkoms van padsterftes regoor die wêreld teen die agtergrond van hul formele instellings, afdwinging en informele instellings, om die impak van hierdie faktore op ekonomiese uitkomstes beter te verstaan. Benewens die ondersoek van afdwinging, word 'n poging aangewend om die 'swart boks' van informele instellings oop te maak, om te onderskei watter houdings en waardes blykbaar wetsgehoorsaamheid en padgedrag aandryf. Hierdie tesis kombineer data van die Wêreldgesondheidsorganisasie oor Padveiligheid, insluitend data oor sterftes tussen lande, en verskillende regulatoriese kenmerke binne hierdie lande, sowel as data oor norme, waardes en houdings van die Wêreldwaardesopname. Klusteranalise, hoofkomponent-analise en meervoudige korrespondensie-analise tegnieke, saam met die kleinste-kwadratemetode, word gebruik, met die doel om aanvullende faktore te ondersoek en te verstaan wat in ag geneem moet word wanneer wetgewing gebruik word as 'n instrument om ekonomiese uitkomste te verander. Daar word gevind dat, alhoewel wette steeds 'n belangrike rol te speel het, die toepassing daarvan is wat van kardinale belang is vir die verbetering van verkeersterftes. Daar word ook gevind dat in lande met 'n sterk reeks voertuigveiligheidstandaarde, padsterftes aansienlik laer is as wat waargeneem is in lande sonder voertuigveiligheidstandaarde. Laastens is gevind dat informele instellings sterk gekorreleer is met padsterftes. Veral waardes wat verband hou met politieke en ekonomiese deelname, sowel as dié met sosiale liberalisme, is die sterkste gekorreleer met lae padsterftes.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/124556
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