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Using Electoral Cycles in Police Hiring to Estimate the Effect of Police on Crime

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  • Levitt, Steven D

Abstract

Previous empirical studies have uncovered little evidence that police reduce crime, possibly due to simultaneity problems. This paper uses the timing of mayoral and gubernatorial elections as an instrument variable to identify a causal effect of police on crime. Increases in the size of police forces are shown to be disproportionately concentrated in mayoral and gubernatorial election years. Increases in police are shown to substantially reduce violent crime but have a smaller impact on property crime. The null hypothesis that the marginal social benefit of reduced crime equals the costs of hiring additional police cannot be rejected. Copyright 1997 by American Economic Association.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 87 (1997)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 270-90

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:87:y:1997:i:3:p:270-90

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  1. repec:att:wimass:8908 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters, in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Craig, Steven G., 1987. "The deterrent impact of police: An examination of a locally provided public service," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 298-311, May.
  4. James Andreoni, 1991. "Reasonable Doubt and the Optimal Magnitude of Fines: Should the Penalty Fit the Crime?," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 22(3), pages 385-395, Autumn.
  5. Edward L. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote & Jose A. Scheinkman, 1995. "Crime and Social Interactions," NBER Working Papers 5026, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Sachs, Jeffrey & Alesina, Alberto, 1988. "Political Parties and the Business Cycle in the United States, 1948-1984," Scholarly Articles 4553026, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  7. Besley, Timothy & Case, Anne, 1995. "Does Electoral Accountability Affect Economic Policy Choices? Evidence from Gubernatorial Term Limits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(3), pages 769-98, August.
  8. Cameron, Samuel, 1988. "The Economics of Crime Deterrence: A Survey of Theory and Evidence," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(2), pages 301-23.
  9. Ehrlich, Isaac, 1973. "Participation in Illegitimate Activities: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 521-65, May-June.
  10. McCormick, Robert E & Tollison, Robert D, 1984. "Crime on the Court," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(2), pages 223-35, April.
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  1. Economic “Experiments”
    by Matt Mitchell in Neighborhood Effects on 2010-07-02 04:51:43
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