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

Author

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  • Aaron Chalfin
  • Justin McCrary

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Aaron Chalfin & Justin McCrary, 2013. "The Effect of Police on Crime: New Evidence from U.S. Cities, 1960-2010," NBER Working Papers 18815, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18815
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. John M. MacDonald & Jonathan Klick & Ben Grunwald, 2016. "The effect of private police on crime: evidence from a geographic regression discontinuity design," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 179(3), pages 831-846, June.
    2. 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).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H76 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Other Expenditure Categories
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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