Cops for Hire? The Political Economy of Police Employment in the German States

Journal of Public Policy, 2013, Forthcoming

46 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2012 Last revised: 29 Jan 2013

See all articles by Markus S. Tepe

Markus S. Tepe

University of Oldenburg

Pieter Vanhuysse

University of Southern Denmark

Date Written: March 29, 2012

Abstract

In times of an alleged waning of political business cycles and partisan policymaking, vote-seeking policymakers can be expected to shift the use of political manipulation mechanisms towards other policy domains in which the macro-institutional environment allows them greater leverage. Public employment generally, and police employment specifically, are promising domains for such tactics. Timing the hiring of police officers during election periods may increase votes, as these are ‘street-visible’ jobs dealing with politically salient issues. Law-and-order competence signaling makes police hiring especially attractive for conservative parties. Testing these electioneering and partisanship hypotheses in the German states between 1992 and 2010, we find that socio-economic variables such as population density strongly determine police employment. But incumbents also hire more police officers before elections, while conservative party power increases police numbers. Subjectively ‘immediate’ forms of crime (issue salience) and perceived causes of crime such as immigration are also positively associated with police numbers.

Keywords: law and order, party patronage, competence signaling, crime reduction, strategic hiring, electioneering, federalism

JEL Classification: D72, D73, H77, K42

Suggested Citation

Tepe, Markus S. and Vanhuysse, Pieter, Cops for Hire? The Political Economy of Police Employment in the German States (March 29, 2012). Journal of Public Policy, 2013, Forthcoming . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2031003 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2031003

Markus S. Tepe (Contact Author)

University of Oldenburg ( email )

Ammerländer Heerstraße 114-118
Oldenburg, DE D-26111
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.tepems.de

Pieter Vanhuysse

University of Southern Denmark ( email )

Campusvej 55
DK 5230 Odense
Denmark

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