The Effects of Asset Forfeiture on Policing: A Panel Approach

Forthcoming in Economic Inquiry

40 Pages Posted: 15 Feb 2014 Last revised: 19 May 2015

See all articles by Brian D. Kelly

Brian D. Kelly

Seattle University - Department of Economics

Maureen Kole


Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 30, 2013


Asset forfeiture has proven highly controversial in the United States since its expansion in 1984. Most controversial is the widespread policy that allows police agencies to keep the assets seized, which both proponents and critics assert changes police behavior. From newly developed panel data sets, we find some statistical support for the proposition that police agencies change the intensity and pattern of crime policing in response to forfeiture. However, in economic terms these effects are very weak and do not support the proposition that forfeiture provides vital funds and incentives for crime policing.

The Data Notes for this paper are available at the following URL:

Keywords: asset forfeiture, policing, arrest, crime rates

JEL Classification: H39, H71, K42

Suggested Citation

Kelly, Brian D. and Kole, Maureen, The Effects of Asset Forfeiture on Policing: A Panel Approach (December 30, 2013). Forthcoming in Economic Inquiry, Available at SSRN: or

Brian D. Kelly (Contact Author)

Seattle University - Department of Economics ( email )

900 Broadway
Seattle, WA 98122
United States

Maureen Kole

Independent ( email )

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