August 1, 2006
"How's My Driving?" and Wikipedia
Late last week the IPLE (Illinois Program in Law and Economics) Summer Reading Group met here in Champaign to discuss Professor Lior Strahilevitz's "'How's My Driving?' for Everyone (and Everything)." We all liked the article, forthcoming in the N.Y.U. Law Review and available from SSRN here, very much. Strahilevitz notes that commercial fleets that used the "How's My Driving?" stickers on their trucks had a demonstrable reduction in accident losses. Not that many people called in to the numbers on the stickers, but apparently truck drivers who knew that people might do so were thereby induced to drive more cautiously than they otherwise might have.
Strahilevitz proposes that if HMD campaigns work to improve safety for commercial fleets of truck, then they will probably do the same for all the rest of us. So, he explores (and ultimately endorses) a HMDFE ("'How's My Driving?' for Everyone") campaign.
We liked the idea but were skeptical of its practicability. (We also joked about a "How's My Professoring?" program.) One of the factual issues that we thought might bear on the administrability of the HMDFE program was how well such free-form information-aggregation programs as Wikipedia work. None of us knew the answer to that inquiry, but shortly after our luncheon, the most recent New Yorker magazine arrived with a marvelous article about Wikipedia. That article, available here, should, I believe, make one skeptical about the usefulness of HMDFE.
Incidentally, I looked up the entry for "Law and economics" in Wikipedia. It needs some extensive work.
August 1, 2006 | Permalink
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