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Police Bureaucracies, Their Incentives, and the War on Drugs

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  • Benson, Bruce L
  • Rasmussen, David W
  • Sollars, David L

Abstract

After 1984, local law enforcement agencies in the United States substantially increased arrests for drug offenses relative to arrests for property and violent crimes. This paper explores why this reallocation of police resources occurred, focusing on alternative 'public interest' and bureaucratic self-interest explanations. The Comprehensive Crime Act of 1984 is shown to have altered the incentives of police agencies by allowing them to keep the proceeds of assets forfeited as a result of drug enforcement activities. Empirical evidence is presented which shows that police agencies can increase their discretionary budgets through the asset forfeiture process. Copyright 1995 by Kluwer Academic Publishers

Suggested Citation

  • Benson, Bruce L & Rasmussen, David W & Sollars, David L, 1995. "Police Bureaucracies, Their Incentives, and the War on Drugs," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 83(1-2), pages 21-45, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:83:y:1995:i:1-2:p:21-45
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Christian Almer & Timo Goeschl, 2010. "Environmental Crime and Punishment: Empirical Evidence from the German Penal Code," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 86(4), pages 707-726.
    2. Christian Almer & Timo Goeschl, 2011. "The political economy of the environmental criminal justice system: a production function approach," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 148(3), pages 611-630, September.
    3. Carlos Casacuberta & Mariana Gerstenblüth & Patricia Triunfo, 2012. "Aportes del análisis económico al estudio de las drogas," Documentos de Trabajo (working papers) 0112, Department of Economics - dECON.
    4. Amanda Ross & Anne Walker, 2014. "Low Priority Laws and the Allocation of Police Resources," Working Papers 14-06, Department of Economics, West Virginia University.
    5. Daniel Y. ROTHSCHILD & Walter BLOCK, 2016. "It Is Not Armed Robbery When Government Takes People's Stuff, It Is Civil Asset Forfeiture," Journal of Social and Administrative Sciences, KSP Journals, vol. 3(3), pages 219-230, September.
    6. Coşgel, Metin M. & Etkes, Haggay & Miceli, Thomas J., 2011. "Private law enforcement, fine sharing, and tax collection: Theory and historical evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 80(3), pages 546-552.
    7. Baicker, Katherine & Jacobson, Mireille, 2007. "Finders keepers: Forfeiture laws, policing incentives, and local budgets," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(11-12), pages 2113-2136, December.
    8. Skarbek, David, 2012. "Prison gangs, norms, and organizations," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 96-109.
    9. repec:kap:pubcho:v:175:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s11127-018-0525-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Benson, Bruce L. & Rasmussen, David W. & Kim, Iljoong, 1998. "Deterrence and Public Policy: Trade-Offs in the Allocation of Police Resources," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 77-100, March.
    11. DeAngelo Gregory & McCannon Bryan C., 2016. "Public Outcry and Police Behavior," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 16(2), pages 619-645, April.
    12. David W. Rasmussen & Bruce L. Benson & David L. Sollars, 1993. "Spatial Competition In Illicit Drug Markets: The Consequences Of Increased Drug Law Enforcement," The Review of Regional Studies, Southern Regional Science Association, vol. 23(3), pages 219-236, Winter.
    13. Gregory DeAngelo & R. Kaj Gittings & Amanda Ross & Annie Walker, 2016. "Police Bias in the Enforcement of Drug Crimes: Evidence from Low Priority Laws," Working Papers 16-01, Department of Economics, West Virginia University.
    14. Holcomb, Jefferson E. & Kovandzic, Tomislav V. & Williams, Marian R., 2011. "Civil asset forfeiture, equitable sharing, and policing for profit in the United States," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 273-285, May.
    15. Reza Oladi & John Gilbert, 2015. "International Narcotics Trade, Foreign Aid, And Enforcement," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 53(3), pages 1630-1646, July.
    16. Bruce L. Benson, 2010. "The Allocation of Police," Chapters,in: Handbook on the Economics of Crime, chapter 8 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    17. Ajilore, Olugbenga, 2017. "Is There a 1033 Effect? Police Militarization and Aggressive Policing," MPRA Paper 82543, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. repec:bla:coecpo:v:35:y:2017:i:2:p:239-252 is not listed on IDEAS
    19. Gerald Kennally, 2001. "Regulating the Trade in Recreational Drugs," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 69-82, January.

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