Trading service quality for safety: a cautionary tale from the French ‘Robien law’ on elevator safety

29 novembre 2017
Lisa Chever et Michael Klien, Journal of Regulatory Economics

Abstract: To deal with elevator accidents the French ‘Robien law’ mandated safety upgrades for ‘old’ elevators. Available statistics suggest that the law reduced fatal accidents but also coincides with an unprecedented deterioration in service quality, multiplying breakdowns and downtime. We exploit a unique data set of more than 3500 elevators over 10 years to investigate the law’s impact.

Using a difference-in-difference setting, our results indicate that the law led to a considerable increase in the number of failures and downtime. We also find evidence that the situation was exacerbated by the fact that the higher failure rates were not met by a sufficient increase in maintenance staff.


Safety regulation Side effect Quality Elevators 

JEL Classification

K32, R41, L50