Monday, June 26, 2006

Indian Roads and bribing

Ha Ha !! I guess PM Manmohan Singh has read the NBER paper. However he seems reluctant to admit the problem of corruption and the basic economic and public choice arguments behind the study. Instead he decides to lash out at the public for being 'ill mannered on the road'. Whoa!! Where did that come from? Is it a response to the rediff article on the PM that asks readers to vote? Many readers seem to believe that Indians are ill mannered on the road.

Here is Prof.Tabarrok's post at Marginal Revolution. I think at many levels there is just blatant violation of the law. For example underage driving or teenagers driving without license. When a teen drives a motorcycle it seems it obvious to everyone but the traffic policeman that the kid does not have a license. Are stricter laws a solution? How about making penalties really heavy? As a libertarian my instinct is against any more laws and government interference. However, heavier penalties does seem to work. I know that if I park illegally I could get a $75 ticket, and so I never do, likewise for an accident that did not hurt or injure anyone else and just gave me a flat tyre I pay a $125 ticket. Will I be careless again, of course not!! What are the penalties for drunk driving in India Rs.500 if you get caught and are given a ticket. The most probable event is that you will not be caught at all, and even if you are caught you would probably slide a Rs.100 note to the cop and get away with it.

There is more to the corruption story in India than just moral values. Since everything works only if you bribe someone, the bribe amount is simply part of the price. After all, the government does not set the bribe prices, it is a market determined phenomenon right, so much for such and such service, and the price also varies. Its a nearly perfect example of a free market phenomenon. More on this later.

1 comment:

Adhiraj Joglekar said...

Much of the world wide web is full of sarcasm & mocking of driving on Indian roads. Sadly the Indian authorities have failed to publish a National highway code in 60 years. Also the training provided by the motor driving schools is inadequate as skills beyond use of clutch-accelerator are never taught. Driving a Cultural Change is a unique website offering comprehensive training in defensive driving through videos and animations.

At present 17 driver education videos aimed at changing the driving culture on Indian roads are available.

To watch the videos, please visit:

The videos cover the following topics:

Video 1: Covers the concept of Blind spots
Video 2: Introduces the principle of Mirrors, Signal and Manoeuvre
Video 3: At red lights, stop behind the stop line
Video 4: At red lights there are no free left turns
Video 5: The Zebra belongs to pedestrians
Video 6: Tyres and Tarmac (rather than bumper to bumper)
Video 7: Merging with the Main road
Video 8: Leaving The Main Road
Video 9: Never Cut Corners
Video 10: Show Courtesy on roads
Video 11: 5 Rules that help deal with Roundabouts
Video 12: Speed limits, stopping distances, tailgating & 2 seconds rule
Video 13: Lane discipline and overtaking
Video 14: Low beam or high beam?
Video 15: Parallel (reverse parking) made easy
Video 16: Give the cyclist the respect of a car
Video 17: Dealing with in-car condensation