Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=218908
 
 

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


John J. Donohue III


Stanford Law School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Steven D. Levitt


University of Chicago; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); American Bar Foundation

November 1998

Stanford Law School, John M. Olin Program in Law and Economics, Working Paper No. 168

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, more white police increase the number of 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.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 63

JEL Classification: K42, J78

working papers series


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Date posted: March 21, 2000  

Suggested Citation

Donohue, John J. and Levitt, Steven D., The Impact of Race on Policing, Arrest Patterns, and Crime (November 1998). Stanford Law School, John M. Olin Program in Law and Economics, Working Paper No. 168. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=218908 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.218908

Contact Information

John J. Donohue III (Contact Author)
Stanford Law School ( email )
559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610
United States
650-575-7166 (Phone)
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Steven D. Levitt
University of Chicago ( email )
1126 East 59th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
773-834-1862 (Phone)
773-702-8490 (Fax)
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
American Bar Foundation
750 N. Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60611
United States
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