Jag Venugopal's Blog

July 21, 2010

Where there’s an incentive, there’s action. Just wait and watch

Filed under: India — Jag @ 11:40 pm

From Tyler Cowen at the Marginal Revolution blog comes this story, originally reported in the Hindustan Times: Delhi cops will now get awards for bringing injured people to hospitals instead of waiting for an ambulance to do the honors. In the past, Delhi police were reportedly reluctant to transport the injured to hospitals, for fear of soiling their uniforms. Now, blood on the uniform will win them awards. Literally.

Here’s the problem with this: where’s there’s an incentive, there is action. Therefore, if a poor shmuck is lying on the road with, say a fracture, but little in the way of bleeding, it is not worth the policeman’s while to take him to hospital. The uniform will get somewhat stained, the policeman will have to fill in a lot of paperwork, and perhaps attend court, with not much incentive owing to very little by way of blood flow. Or perhaps, the policeman will eventually take him to hospital, but will first take a detour to the local butcher’s for some blood to enhance the redness. If the victim is merely unconscious, say through a concussion, there is much money to be had in delivering a few blows so that the blood flows freely.

Think my suspicions are unwarranted? Think again, and think again. Where there’s an incentive, there is action.

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