IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/6784.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Impact of Race on Policing, Arrest Patterns, and Crime

Author

Listed:
  • John J. Donohue III
  • Steven D. Levitt

Abstract

Race has long been recognized as playing a critical role in policing. In spite of this awareness, there has been virtually no previous research attempting to quantitatively analyze the issue. In this paper, we examine the relationship between the racial composition of a city's police force and the racial patterns of arrests and crime. Increases in the number of minority police are associated with significant increases in arrests of whites, but have little impact on arrests of non-whites. Similarly arrests of non-whites, but do not systematically affect the number of white arrests. The race of police officers has a less clear-cut impact on crime rates. It appears that own-race policing may be more effective in reducing property crime, but no systematic differences are observed for violent crime. These results are consistent either with own-race policing leading to fewer false arrests or greater deterrence. In either case, own-race policing appears more "efficient" in fighting property crime.

Suggested Citation

  • John J. Donohue III & Steven D. Levitt, 1998. "The Impact of Race on Policing, Arrest Patterns, and Crime," NBER Working Papers 6784, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6784
    Note: LE PE
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w6784.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Samuel Cameron, 1988. "The Economics of Crime Deterrence: A Survey of Theory and Evidence," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(2), pages 301-323, May.
    2. Leonard, Jonathan S, 1984. "The Impact of Affirmative Action on Employment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(4), pages 439-463, October.
    3. McCormick, Robert E & Tollison, Robert D, 1984. "Crime on the Court," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(2), pages 223-235, April.
    4. Julie Berry Cullen & Steven D. Levitt, 1999. "Crime, Urban Flight, And The Consequences For Cities," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(2), pages 159-169, May.
    5. Levitt, Steven D, 1998. "Why Do Increased Arrest Rates Appear to Reduce Crime: Deterrence, Incapacitation, or Measurement Error?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(3), pages 353-372, July.
    6. Bowles, Roger & Garoupa, Nuno, 1997. "Casual police corruption and the economics of crime," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 75-87, March.
    7. Orley Ashenfelter & James J. Heckman, 1974. "Measuring the Effect of an Anti-Discrimination Program," NBER Working Papers 0050, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Levitt, Steven D, 1997. "Using Electoral Cycles in Police Hiring to Estimate the Effect of Police on Crime," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 270-290, June.
    9. Cameron, Samuel, 1988. "The Economics of Crime Deterrence: A Survey of Theory and Evidence," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(2), pages 301-323.
    10. Hochstedler, Ellen & Conley, John A., 1986. "Explaining underrepresentation of black officers in city police agencies," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 319-328.
    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.
    12. Paolo Mauro, 1995. "Corruption and Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 681-712.
    13. Leonard, Jonathan S, 1990. "The Impact of Affirmative Action Regulation and Equal Employment Law on Black Employment," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 47-63, Fall.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Mason, Patrick L., 2007. "Driving while black: do police pass the test?," MPRA Paper 11328, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. David Neumark & Harry Holzer, 2000. "Assessing Affirmative Action," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(3), pages 483-568, September.
    3. John Knowles & Nicola Persico & Petra Todd, 2001. "Racial Bias in Motor Vehicle Searches: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(1), pages 203-232, February.
    4. Gerd Muehlheusser & Andreas Roider, 2004. "Black Sheep and Walls of Silence," Diskussionsschriften dp0410, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
    5. Stephen L. Ross, 2003. "What Is Known about Testing for Discrimination: Lessons Learned by Comparing across Different Markets," Working papers 2003-21, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics, revised Nov 2003.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Kessler, Daniel P & Levitt, Steven D, 1999. "Using Sentence Enhancements to Distinguish between Deterrence and Incapacitation," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 42(1), pages 343-363, April.
    2. Rafael Di Tella & Ernesto Schargrodsky, 2004. "Do Police Reduce Crime? Estimates Using the Allocation of Police Forces After a Terrorist Attack," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 115-133, March.
    3. Bruno S. Frey, 2011. "Punishment – and Beyond," Contemporary Economics, University of Economics and Human Sciences in Warsaw., vol. 5(2), June.
    4. Levitt, Steven D, 1998. "Why Do Increased Arrest Rates Appear to Reduce Crime: Deterrence, Incapacitation, or Measurement Error?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(3), pages 353-372, July.
    5. Luis Aguiar & Jörg Claussen & Christian Peukert, 2018. "Catch Me If You Can: Effectiveness and Consequences of Online Copyright Enforcement," Information Systems Research, INFORMS, vol. 29(3), pages 656-678, September.
    6. Yahagi, Ken, 2021. "Law enforcement with motivated agents," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(C).
    7. Brishti Guha, 2015. "“Inferiority” complex? Policing, private precautions and crime," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 39(1), pages 97-106, February.
    8. Steven D. Levitt, 1998. "Juvenile Crime and Punishment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(6), pages 1156-1185, December.
    9. Steven D. Levitt, 2004. "Understanding Why Crime Fell in the 1990s: Four Factors that Explain the Decline and Six that Do Not," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(1), pages 163-190, Winter.
    10. Klick, Jonathan & Tabarrok, Alexander, 2005. "Using Terror Alert Levels to Estimate the Effect of Police on Crime," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(1), pages 267-279, April.
    11. Ian Ayres & Steven D. Levitt, 1998. "Measuring Positive Externalities from Unobservable Victim Precaution: An Empirical Analysis of Lojack," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(1), pages 43-77.
    12. Levitt Steven D., 2002. "Testing the Economic Model of Crime:The National Hockey League's Two-Referee Experiment," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 1-21, January.
    13. Lihui Zhang, 2016. "Are youth offenders responsive to changing sanctions? Evidence from the Canadian Youth Criminal Justice Act of 2003," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 49(2), pages 515-554, May.
    14. Christoph Engel, 2019. "When Does Transparency Backfire? Putting Jeremy Bentham's Theory of General Prevention to the Experimental Test," Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 16(4), pages 881-908, December.
    15. à lvaro José Moreno García, 2005. "Impacto De Transmilenio En El Crimen De La Avenida Caracas Y Sus Vecindades," Documentos CEDE 002809, Universidad de los Andes - CEDE.
    16. Levitt, Steven D, 1997. "Using Electoral Cycles in Police Hiring to Estimate the Effect of Police on Crime," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 270-290, June.
    17. George F. N. Shoukry, 2016. "Criminals' Response To Changing Crime Lucre," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 54(3), pages 1464-1483, July.
    18. Dean Yang, 2008. "Can Enforcement Backfire? Crime Displacement in the Context of Customs Reform in the Philippines," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(1), pages 1-14, February.
    19. Ana María Cerro & Osvaldo Meloni, 2000. "Determinants of the crime rate in Argentina during the '90s," Estudios de Economia, University of Chile, Department of Economics, vol. 27(2 Year 20), pages 297-311, December.
    20. Ishita Chatterjee & Ranjan Ray, 2013. "The Role of Institutions in the Incidence of Crime and Corruption," Economics Discussion / Working Papers 13-17, The University of Western Australia, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • J78 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Public Policy (including comparable worth)

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    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:6784. 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: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    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 bibliographic 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.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    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.