The Electoral Effect of Stop-and-Frisk

47 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2017

See all articles by Woo Chang Kang

Woo Chang Kang

Australian National University (ANU)

Christopher Dawes

Wilf Family Department of Politics

Date Written: July 11, 2017


Scholars have recently demonstrated that negative experiences with law enforcement can have a depressing effect on political participation. Here, we explore the impact of living in a neighborhood targeted by police for stop-and-frisk. To do so, we combine individual electoral participation in the 2010 and 2014 midterm elections with records of stop-and-frisk activity in New York City. The results show that overall, stop-and-frisk reduced turnout among registered voters. However, the effect of stop-and-frisk depends on individual-level characteristics of citizens living in areas of elevated stop-and-frisk activity. Black, male, and older citizens were the most strongly demobilized by stop-and-frisk. Our results suggest that crime prevention strategies may have negative consequences for civic engagement and may exacerbate inequality in representation.

Keywords: Voter Turnout, Stop-and-Frisk

Suggested Citation

Kang, Woo Chang and Dawes, Christopher, The Electoral Effect of Stop-and-Frisk (July 11, 2017). Available at SSRN: or

Woo Chang Kang

Australian National University (ANU) ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2601

Christopher Dawes (Contact Author)

Wilf Family Department of Politics ( email )

New York, NY
United States

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