Comments: The economics of the Denver boot

These pesky things can be rather annoying. It's quite clear the incentive structure is flawed. At the very least, fines of this nature should be on a sliding scale, so first time offenders pay a small fine (as you said, it is often purely accidental), but repeat offenders should pay a lot more. This would prevent the likes of Gordon Ramsey or Clarkson from Top Gear from just parking anywhere they want, as the fine is too low to work as a disincentive. If the fines climbed higher and higher, perhaps everyone would be more careful over time. It would be worth trying as an experiment at the least.

Marginal Revolution recently commented on parking fines: http://www.marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2007/02/the_economics_o.html

Posted by Caravaggio at February 25, 2007 02:07 AM

The marginal revolution thesis fits quite well. I suspect Westminster clamps quite a high proportion of out-of-towners, who have come up for a night at the theatre and want to avoid the horrors of London public transport. That certainly applied to the elderly couple waiting plaintively to be unclamped in the bay next to mine.

Posted by David Smith at February 25, 2007 07:19 PM

David,

Surely you realise that the charge is not merely a punishment or the cost of the clamping operative. If it was just the cost of the clamping, what purpose would this serve?

If you park illegally, presumably you are causing an obstruction. This has either safety or congestion implications (or both) for someone else. The fine, necessarily somewhat arbitrarily, is a way of charging you for the problems you are causing other people. You may be delaying other people and this costs them money. There should be a method of making you realise this.

I know you said it was accidental, but then the question remains whether the fault was your lack of observation or bad markings/signposting. If it was the latter, you'd be entitled to appeal. If it was the former - your fault!

Posted by HJHJ at February 26, 2007 11:22 AM

Yes, of course I realise that - I was just wondering how the incentive works in this case. And how the price is set. In terms of signposting - yes, it was - but the fact that a couple of us chose to park there rather than the free (and legal) spaces across the road suggests it wasn't as clear as it could have been.

Posted by David Smith at February 26, 2007 02:46 PM