Collars for Dollars: Arrests and Police Overtime

75 Pages Posted: 2 Dec 2020

See all articles by Aaron Chalfin

Aaron Chalfin

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Criminology

Felipe Goncalves

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Economics

Date Written: October 15, 2020

Abstract

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

Chalfin, Aaron and Goncalves, Felipe, Collars for Dollars: Arrests and Police Overtime (October 15, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3712794 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3712794

Aaron Chalfin

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Criminology ( email )

483 McNeil Building
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Felipe Goncalves (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Economics ( email )

8283 Bunche Hall
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1477
United States

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