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The Effect of Police on Crime: New Evidence from U.S. Cities, 1960-2010

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  • Aaron Chalfin
  • Justin McCrary
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    Abstract

    We argue that the key impediment to accurate measurement of the effect of police on crime is not necessarily simultaneity bias, but bias due to mismeasurement of police. Using a new panel data set on crime in medium to large U.S. cities over 1960- 2010, we obtain measurement error corrected estimates of the police elasticity of the cost-weighted sum of crimes of roughly -0.5. The estimates confirm a controversial finding from the previous literature that police reduce violent crime more so than property crime.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18815.

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    Date of creation: Feb 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18815

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    Cited by:
    1. Lofstrom, Magnus & Raphael, Steven, 2013. "Incarceration and Crime: Evidence from California's Public Safety Realignment Reform," IZA Discussion Papers 7838, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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