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Selection and Oversight in the Public Sector, With the Los Angeles Police Department as an Example

Author

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  • Canice Prendergast

Abstract

I offer theoretical and empirical observations on the oversight of public sector employees. I argue that it is unreasonable to expect that the solutions typically considered in the literature will be effective with public sector employees, because bureaucrats are especially difficult to monitor. To offset this weakness, agencies tend to hire bureaucrats who are biased against consumers, where such bias increases incentives. I then address how bureaucrats should be overseen and offer a choice between internal monitoring of public agencies, with overseers who are biased against consumers, or external monitoring, where bureaucrats become excessively worried about the prospect of an investigation and may change their behavior to attain that goal. I provide evidence from the Los Angeles Police Department to show that officers appear to have responded to increased oversight by reducing crime-fighting activities in an attempt to avoid investigation.

Suggested Citation

  • Canice Prendergast, 2001. "Selection and Oversight in the Public Sector, With the Los Angeles Police Department as an Example," NBER Working Papers 8664, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8664
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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w8664.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1997. "Formal and Real Authority in Organizations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(1), pages 1-29, February.
    2. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
    3. Gibbons, Robert & Waldman, Michael, 1999. "Careers in organizations: Theory and evidence," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 36, pages 2373-2437 Elsevier.
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Reformas judiciales, incentivos policiales y tasas de arresto
      by Catherine Rodriguez in Foco Económico on 2017-02-01 03:52:05

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Francisco Alvarez-Cuadrado, "undated". "A Quantitative Exploration of the Golden Age of European Growth: Structural Change, Public Investment, the Marshall Plan and Intra-European Trade," Working Papers UWEC-2004-15, University of Washington, Department of Economics.
    2. Hunt, Jennifer & Laszlo, Sonia, 2005. "Bribery: Who Pays, Who Refuses, What are the Payoffs?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5251, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Timothy Besley & Maitreesh Ghatak, 2005. "Competition and Incentives with Motivated Agents," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 616-636, June.
    4. Ana María Ibáñez & Amy Ritterbusch & Catherine Rodríguez, 2017. "Impact of a Judicial System Reform on Police Behavior: Evidence on Juvenile Crime in Colombia," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 015428, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
    5. Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay & Kalyan Chatterjee, 2006. "Crime as a local public bad, neighbourhood observation and reporting," Discussion Papers 06-04, Department of Economics, University of Birmingham.
    6. Shi, Lan, 2009. "The limit of oversight in policing: Evidence from the 2001 Cincinnati riot," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1-2), pages 99-113, February.
    7. William Easterly, 2002. "The cartel of good intentions: The problem of bureaucracy in foreign aid," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(4), pages 223-250.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H8 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues
    • L3 - Industrial Organization - - Nonprofit Organizations and Public Enterprise

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