Saturday, September 15, 2012

Vanity Plates

Which economists have a vanity license plate?   Dr. Krugman might go with "Go Keynes" while John Taylor might choose "No QE3".  I doubt either of those plates have been taken.   As I walked in Westwood today, I passed the usual number of Mercedes but this vanity plate caught my eye.

Does anybody else see a PG-13 comment here?  A few years ago, I had access to a California data set at the vehicle level. I knew each vehicle's emissions, its attributes such as make, model year, mileage and I knew the license plate. I thought about exploring whether those who have a vanity plate have a different emissions profile but I couldn't convince myself that this was very interesting.

My thought was that choosing a vanity plate reveals something about your personality and that certain types of people may be prone more to minimize pollution externalities because they are a "do gooder".