Collars for Dollars: Arrests and Police Overtime
75 Pages Posted: 2 Dec 2020
Date Written: October 15, 2020
How do public sector workers balance pro-social motivations with private interests? In this study of police officers, an arrest often requires working overtime. We document two consequences to officer behavior. First, contrary to popular wisdom, officers reduce arrests near the end of their shift, and the quality of arrests increases. Second, officers further reduce late-shift arrests on days in which they “moonlight” after work. Using these results, we estimate a dynamic model that identifies officers’ implied tradeoff between private and pro-social motivations. Incentives created by overtime pay are insufficiently large to change police decision-making at the margin.
JEL Classification: K42, J33, J45
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation