Does Discipline Decrease Police Misconduct? Evidence from Chicago Civilian Allegations

70 Pages Posted: 22 Sep 2020 Last revised: 24 May 2021

Date Written: August 7, 2020

Abstract

Reformers are calling for greater oversight of police behavior, in part through enhanced use of civilian complaints. However, others counter that greater oversight could chill effective policing. We assess police officer response to administrative determinations of misconduct. Using Chicago data, we find strong evidence that a sustained allegation reduces that officer’s future misconduct. We find no evidence that this effect is driven by incapacitation, such as assignment to desk duty, or by officer disengagement. We conclude that our findings are most consistent with improved officer conduct, in part from oversight and officer concerns over promotion, salary, and desirable assignments.

Keywords: Police misconduct, deterrence, discipline

JEL Classification: M51, K42, J58

Suggested Citation

Rozema, Kyle and Schanzenbach, Max Matthew, Does Discipline Decrease Police Misconduct? Evidence from Chicago Civilian Allegations (August 7, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3669155 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3669155

Kyle Rozema (Contact Author)

Washington University in St. Louis - School of Law ( email )

Campus Box 1120
St. Louis, MO 63130
United States

Max Matthew Schanzenbach

Northwestern University - Pritzker School of Law ( email )

375 E. Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
United States

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