Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
As of today, only one study (Dickert-Conlin et al., 2011) has analyzed the impact of a universal motorcycle helmet law on the number of donors who died from motor vehicle accidents (MVAs) and found that a universal law was associated with a significant decrease in MVA donors of approximately 10%. I update this study by using a difference-in-differences (DID) estimation procedure based on the methodological approach of Cheng & Hoekstra (2016) and by extending the time period analyzed to include the years 1994-2018. My estimations reveal that a universal law is associated with a decrease in MVA donors of roughly 12%, but that this result is not robust across different model specifications and time periods. I also find that a universal helmet law is associated with significant increases in both male and female MVA donors aged 11-17 and conclude from this unexpected result that my identification strategy--and that used by Dickert-Conlin et al. (2011)--is flawed. In addition, when I use motorcyclist fatalities as my dependent variable, I find that a universal helmet law is associated with a significant decrease in motorcyclist fatalities of roughly 24% in earlier periods, but that this estimate is not generalizable to later, more current, periods. Therefore, my paper disconfirms the robustness of results found by past studies, highlighting areas for future research.
Jaehnert, Carissa, "The Impact of Universal Motorcycle Helmet Regulation on Deceased Organ Donors" (2019). Economics Student Theses and Capstone Projects. 112.