Speaking Up Saves Lives

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Science  13 Jan 2012:
Vol. 335, Issue 6065, pp. 147
DOI: 10.1126/science.335.6065.147-a

Each year, almost twice as many people die as a result of injuries suffered in road traffic accidents as from malaria. Most of these deaths occur in developing countries, and inexpensive and easy-to-implement measures to reduce this toll could offer a big payoff. Habyarimana and Jack describe a simple nudge applied to the minibus-based long-distance transport system linking major towns to Nairobi, Kenya. Stickers encouraging passengers to speak up if they were subject to bad driving and a lottery to discourage drivers from removing the stickers combined to halve the number of insurance claims at a cost of less than 6 USD per year of life saved, which is comparable to the cost of childhood vaccinations.

J. Public Econ. 95, 1438 (2011).

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