IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Effect of Court-Ordered Hiring Quotas on the Composition and Quality of Police


  • Justin McCrary


Arguably the most aggressive affirmative action program ever implemented in the United States was a series of court-ordered racial hiring quotas imposed on municipal police departments. My best estimate of the effect of court-ordered affirmative action on workforce composition is a 14 percentage point gain in the fraction African American among newly hired officers. Evidence on police performance is mixed. Despite substantial black-white test score differences on police department entrance examinations, city crime rates appear unaffected by litigation. However, litigation lowers slightly both arrests per crime and the fraction black among serious arrestees.

Suggested Citation

  • Justin McCrary, 2006. "The Effect of Court-Ordered Hiring Quotas on the Composition and Quality of Police," NBER Working Papers 12368, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12368
    Note: LS PE

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kate Antonovics & Brian G. Knight, 2009. "A New Look at Racial Profiling: Evidence from the Boston Police Department," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(1), pages 163-177, February.
    2. Jacobson, Louis S & LaLonde, Robert J & Sullivan, Daniel G, 1993. "Earnings Losses of Displaced Workers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 685-709, September.
    3. Davidson, James, 1994. "Stochastic Limit Theory: An Introduction for Econometricians," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198774037.
    4. Donohue, John J, III & Heckman, James, 1991. "Continuous versus Episodic Change: The Impact of Civil Rights Policy on the Economic Status of Blacks," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 29(4), pages 1603-1643, December.
    5. Donohue, John J, III & Levitt, Steven D, 2001. "The Impact of Race on Policing and Arrests," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44(2), pages 367-394, October.
    6. Jonathan S. Leonard, 1984. "Antidiscrimination or Reverse Discrimination: The Impact of Changing Demographics, Title VII, and Affirmative Action on Productivity," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 19(2), pages 145-174.
    7. Altonji, Joseph G. & Blank, Rebecca M., 1999. "Race and gender in the labor market," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 48, pages 3143-3259 Elsevier.
    8. Orley Ashenfelter & James J. Heckman, 1974. "Measuring the Effect of an Anti-Discrimination Program," NBER Working Papers 0050, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. S. Rosen, 1969. "Trade Union Power, Threat Effects and the Extent of Organization," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 36(2), pages 185-196.
    10. James J. Heckman & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 1976. "Does the Contract Compliance Program Work? An Analysis of Chicago Data," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 29(4), pages 544-564, July.
    11. Decker, Scott H. & Smith, Russell L., 1980. "Police minority recruitment: A note on its effectiveness in improving black evaluations of the police," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 8(6), pages 387-393.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H4 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods
    • H7 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations
    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • J4 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets
    • J7 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination
    • K3 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law
    • K4 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12368. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.