Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Member

Andrew Hanssen, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Thomas Hazlett

Committee Member

Robert Fleck

Committee Member

Michael Makowsky


In the United States, individual states pass a variety of rules and regulations in order to create and enforce laws. My dissertation examines several key portions of this process, by focusing on regulations impacting the auto insurance industry. I construct three essays which examine strategies for passing such a regulation in state legislatures, factors affecting which states implement the regulation and at what time, and the effectiveness of the law itself. First, I evaluate the effect of state laws establishing electronically accessible statewide databases of insured drivers on uninsured driving and precaution. I find that the laws themselves do not cause a significant change in the rate of uninsured motorists. However, there is a consistent, but not statistically significant, decrease in the number of crashes and fatalities that occur after the law is implemented. This indicates that any effect the law has in encouraging drivers to obtain insurance is outweighed by those drivers who remain uninsured but drive more carefully in order to avoid detection and the resulting penalties. Second, I examine the market conditions associated with states' implementation of these laws. I find that states with lower rates of uninsured driving are more likely to implement an insurance database law. In addition, states with higher levels of market concentration are less likely to implement the law. There is also some support for a diffusion theory where states are more likely to implement laws their neighboring states have passed. Last, I evaluate the use of sunset provisions as a legislative bargaining tool that could assist in gaining the majority needed to pass similar laws in additional states. I predict that, under conditions where it is preferable to limit a law's durability rather than changing the content of the law, sunset provisions will be used more frequently when the makeup of the legislative body is more volatile, or when the majority is slim.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.