The Affton School Board has approved a policy that could fine parents who habitually pick up their children late from the district’s after-school program. […]
Parents who arrive late will now be given one warning. Thereafter, parents will be subject to a $10 fine for arriving up to 15 minutes late, $15 for up to 30 minutes late, and $20 for any pickup after 6:30 p.m.
In the book, Levitt and Dubner discuss a study in which an incentive scheme like that was found to increase the number of kids left at school late (actually, in the case of the study, I think it was a daycare center). That’s because in the absence of fines, parents assume that leaving their kids late is a large burden on the staff. They’ll try hard to get there on time. When you institute modest fines, parents think, "Hey, the school doesn’t really care whether I’m on time or not. It’s just a little bit of an inconvenience for them, but I don’t need to feel bad about that because I’ll pay the $15." Now, if they charged $150, that would bring down the number of late parents.