Friday, December 18, 2009

More Superfreaky Controversy

Is Levitt really surprised when he attracts controversy anymore or is he just a glutton for it. He insists in Superfreakonomics, and on his blog, that for a given distance traveled, it's safer to drive drunk than to walk drunk, and that it might be a tossup between driving drunk and taking a cab. Couple things: First, the option of driving home drunk, may lead to a longer distance to travel, thus eliminating the option of walking. In other words, as Andrew Gelman points out, it's stupid to assume that "all else is equal."
Here's another thing. Drunk walking has few, if any, negative externalities. Drunk walkers are unlikely to careen off the road and do harm to an innocent bystander. So, even if there is a tossup between the two in terms of private benefits, the public cost is nowhere close.

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