They Double-Park Because They Hate Us


A recent National Bureau of Economic Research study finds that the single biggest factor in determining whether foreign diplomats stationed in New York City will pay parking tickets is if they come from corrupt countries. The second biggie?:

a second factor–poor U.S. image–emerged when the researchers matched the list of offenders against a 2002 world public opinion survey performed by the Pew Research Center.

"It's much easier to flout the law if you tell yourself that the government that is making these laws or enforcing these laws lacks legitimacy," said Raymond Fisman of Columbia University's Graduate School of Business.

Between November 1997 and the end of 2002, diplomats accumulated more than 150,000 unpaid parking tickets in New York, racking up $18 million in unpaid fines.

Based on statistics supplied by the city, the report said the worst offenders during that period were Kuwait, which averaged 246.2 unpaid tickets per diplomat per year, followed by Egypt, with 139.6; Chad, with 124.3; and Sudan, with 119.1.

Whole thing here.


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  1. Yet ironically polls show Kuwaitis are usually the most pro-American of any nationality (and especially amongst Arab nations).

  2. You’d be pro-American too if the U.S. provided military protection for your feudal society.

  3. Yes, but my point was simply that the theory that anti-American sentiment is a contributing factor to parking tickets is kind of weakened when the country that has far and away the worst problem with traffic tickets (nearly twice as many as second place) is also staunchly pro-American.

  4. This is precisely why it is one of my life-long goals to get diplomatic immunity.

  5. Who is this guy named Chad and how did he get so many parking tickets?

  6. The U.N. reminds me of the modern English aristocracy. They’re useless. They’re expensive. They are a sham. They abuse privileges that they are not remotely entitled to.

    It would be so much better for the human race if insitutions such as these didn’t exist.

  7. Boot their autos. Maybe the hassle of un-booting them will make them late for their next chi-chi
    luncheon at le Cirque.

  8. GEORGE: Maybe it’s not even stupidity. Maybe it’s just a blatant disregard for basic human decency. This is how dictators start. Do you think Mussolini would circle the block six times looking for a spot?

    KRAMER: How about Idi Amin?

    GEORGE: Ill tell you, if I was running for office I would ask for the death penalty for double-parking. If this is allowed to go on this is not a society. THIS IS ANARCHY!

  9. They should be forced to pay double just for the benefit of not having to live in their own shithole countries. Gee I wonder why they blow us off at the UN council meetings. I mean if they aren’t even forced to park correctly or pay fines for not doing so aren’t we sending a message of, yeah this is what our laws say and we apply them to our citizens but for you special out of town folks we turn a blind eye.

    So in their meetings they are thinking the same thing I think when corporate sends a mass email. Yeah sure they say that but we know what really happens, nothing! As such anytime I get something from corporate I read it and then forget it because its all just smoke and mirrors anyway.

  10. Maybe I’d care if these offenses weren’t occurring in NYC. Presumably they also get some benefit from hosting the UN. And, I think support for the UN is probably higher in NYC than in other parts of the US.

    So, what exactly is the problem? It would be a real shame if the UN were burdening a place that didn’t actually like it.

  11. Ah, another mindless anti-UN rant (and I’m no UN fan). This has nothing to do with the UN per se, it has to do with diplomatic immunity. I’d also guess that a large chunk of these tickets aren’t from diplomats at the UN, as they are from diplomats at the various consulates in NY.

    We could revoke diplomatic immunity. Of course, that means no immunity for our ambassadors and others abroad, but I’m sure no one would object to that, right ?

    Now that all being said, I think its fairly obvious that corrupt semi-feudal dictatorships would think they had a divine right to park anywhere, even in NYC. I wonder if their cars can be towed ? Even if they don’t have to pay, having your car towed is a serious disincentive.

  12. NYC parking tickets are a scam. The signs are designed to confuse and not inform you giving them a chance to screw you and collect more revenues. If I had diplomatic immunity, I’ll defenitely skip them.

  13. Port-au-Prince would be a nice place for the U N HQ. Plenty of parking there. Cost of living is pretty low, as well.

  14. I’m thinking a vigilante stance may be appropriate here – NY’ers should take matter into their own hands and vandalize.

  15. In April 1997 Giuliani tried to crack down on diplomats’ unpaid parking tickets. The diplomats complained to the UN, who threatened to move their headquarters to Geneva.

    Probably the only Giuliani moment I actually enjoyed was when he replied that that was a great idea – that’s prime riverfront real estate the Secretariat’s sitting on.

  16. “the report said the worst offenders during that period were Kuwait, which averaged 246.2 unpaid tickets per diplomat per year,…”

    By my count, there are only 252 working days in a year. So assuming that folks at the UN don’t work weekends or stat holidays, then the Kuwaiti diplomats can brag about their near-perfect .977 average.

  17. Um, you don’t think they double park when they catch a Saturday Yankees game?

  18. This is precisely why it is one of my life-long goals to get diplomatic immunity.
    Comment by: Mo at July 7, 2006 09:39 AM

    Just become a police officer.

    But speaking of diplomatic immunity, here’s the obligatory Family Guy reference, from “E Peterbus Unum.”

    Ah ah ah ah. Can’t Touch Me.
    Can’t Touch me.
    Ja ja ja ja just like the bad guy,
    From Lethal Weapon 2,
    I’ve got diplomatic Immunity,
    So Hammer, you can’t sue.
    I can write graffiti even jay-walk in the streets.
    I can Riot, loot, not give a hoot, and touch your sister’s teat.

    Can’t touch me,
    Can’t touch me.
    Can’t touch me,

    Peter time.
    I’m a big shot, there’s no doubt
    Light a fire then pee it out.
    Don’t like it, kiss my rump.
    Just for a minute, let’s all do the bump. Can’t touch me,
    Yeah, do the Peter Griffin Bump.
    Can’t touch me.

    I’m Presidential Peter,
    Interns think I’m hot/ Don’t care if you’re handicapped, I’ll still park in your spot! I’ve been around the world,
    From Hartford to Back Bay
    It’s Peter, Go Peter, I’m so Peter, Yo Peter, Let’s see Regis rap this way.
    Can’t touch me.

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