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Police Bias in the Enforcement of Drug Crimes: Evidence from Low Priority Laws

Author

Listed:
  • Gregory DeAngelo

    (West Virginia University, Department of Economics)

  • R. Kaj Gittings

    (Texas Tech University, Department of Economics)

  • Amanda Ross

    (West Virginia University, Department of Economics)

  • Annie Walker

    (University of Colorado, Denver, Department of Economics)

Abstract

We consider the impact of adoption of a low priority initiative in some jurisdictions within Los Angeles County on police behavior. Low priority initiatives instruct police to make the enforcement of low level marijuana possession offenses their “lowest priority.†Using detailed data from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and a difference-indifferences strategy, we show that the mandate resulted in a lower arrest rate for misdemeanor marijuana possession in adopting areas. However, the lower relative arrest rate is driven by a spike in the arrest rate in areas not affected by the mandate rather than a reduction in adopting areas.

Suggested Citation

  • Gregory DeAngelo & R. Kaj Gittings & Amanda Ross & Annie Walker, 2016. "Police Bias in the Enforcement of Drug Crimes: Evidence from Low Priority Laws," Working Papers 16-01, Department of Economics, West Virginia University.
  • Handle: RePEc:wvu:wpaper:16-01
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    File URL: http://busecon.wvu.edu/phd_economics/pdf/16-01.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. DeAngelo, Gregory & Owens, Emily G., 2017. "Learning the ropes: General experience, task-Specific experience, and the output of police officers," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 142(C), pages 368-377.

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    Keywords

    drug crimes; enforcement; police bias; laws;
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