Salience of Law Enforcement: A Field Experiment

Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper 2017-007/VII

29 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2017 Last revised: 1 Jul 2018

Robert Dur

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Department of Economics; Tinbergen Institute; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Ben Vollaard

CentER, Tilburg University

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

Date Written: December 1, 2017

Abstract

We conduct a field experiment to examine whether the deterrent effect of law enforcement depends on the salience of law enforcement activity. Our focus is on illegal disposal of household garbage in residential areas. At a random subset of 56 locations in a mid-sized city, law enforcement officers supplemented their regular enforcement activities by the practice of putting brightly-colored warning labels on illegally disposed garbage bags. This treatment made the existing enforcement activities suddenly much more apparent to residents. We find evidence for a substantial reduction in illegal disposal of garbage in response to the treatment.

Keywords: law enforcement, deterrence, perception, salience, disorder

JEL Classification: C93, K42

Suggested Citation

Dur, Robert and Vollaard, Ben, Salience of Law Enforcement: A Field Experiment (December 1, 2017). Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper 2017-007/VII. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2898880 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2898880

Robert Dur (Contact Author)

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Department of Economics ( email )

FEW / H 8-15
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+31-10-4082159 (Phone)
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HOME PAGE: http://people.few.eur.nl/dur

Tinbergen Institute

Amsterdam/Rotterdam
Netherlands

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Ben Vollaard

CentER, Tilburg University ( email )

P.O. Box 90153
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands

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