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Examination of Synthetic Control Methods to Evaluate a Community-Based Traffic Safety Program in South Korea

  • Korean Society and Public Administration
  • Abbr : KSPA
  • 2020, 30(4), pp.221-247
  • Publisher : Seoul Association For Public Administration
  • Research Area : Social Science > Public Administration
  • Received : January 16, 2020
  • Accepted : February 24, 2020
  • Published : February 28, 2020

Kim, Hyoungah 1

1중앙대학교 국가정책연구소

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This study evaluates the traffic safety program, titled “the Pilot City for Traffic Safety Project”, in South Korea. To estimate program effects on road safety at the local government level, I use a synthetic control method (SCM), widely used to estimate the effect of policy intervention on an outcome variable. In this study, for example; three variables are used—the number of traffic accidents, the number of injuries, and the number of deaths. The results indicate that the road safety program in Korea was effective to reduce the overall number of traffic accidents (The ratio of pre- and post-intervention RMSPE was 5.3 with a 0.06 p-value) and marginally effective to decrease the number of injuries (the ratio of RMSPE was 3.1 with a 0.12 p-value). In contrast, the result for the number of death from traffic accidents shows that there is no strong evidence of the program effect. These findings suggest that the community-based traffic safety program was ineffective in lowering the number of fatal traffic accidents, but would help to reduce the non-fatal traffic accidents in a community. In addition to the policy implication, this study introduces the policy evaluation tool, a SCM, as a useful method to verify the casual effect of a policy intervention in social science. Under the problem of small sample size and randomization issue, SCM will help to systemically build a control group as a counterfactual so that a researcher can measure an effect of policy intervention more thoroughly.

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