Police and Crime: Evidence from Dictated Delays in Centralized Police Hiring
This paper exploits dictated delays in local police hiring by a centralized national authority to break the simultaneity between police and crime. In Italy police o?cers can only be hired through lengthy national public contests which the Parliament, the President, and the Court of Auditors need to approve. Typically it takes three years before the requested police o?cers are recruited and become operational. We show that this endogeneity vanishes once, controlling for countrywide year e?ects, we use positive changes in the number of police o?cers. The availability of data on two police forces, specialized in ?ghting di?erent crimes, provides convincing counterfactual evidence on the robustness of our results. Despite the ine?cient hiring system, regular Italian police forces seem to be as e?cient in ?ghting crimes as the US ones, with two notable exceptions: auto thefts and burglaries.
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