Friday, March 5, 2010

A property rights approach to pothole repair

(via Marginal Revolution)
The German town of Niederzimmern is selling its potholes. You buy it, you fix it! Sort of like a goofy "Pottery Barn" rule. But you get to include any text you want on the repaired street. It strikes me that this creates incentives to "overfix" potholes so that the purchaser--presumably companies seeking advertisements--will either only fix the large potholes or fix an area much larger than the initial hole in order to have enough space for a coherent message.

The comments on the linked blog post are worth reading, especially the one that explains:
I have come across roads in Cavan where someone painted the potholes so that they could be seen better - a sort of a shaming campaign.

The scarlet potholes!
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