Black Lives Matter's Effect on Police Lethal Use-of-Force
65 Pages Posted: 12 Feb 2021 Last revised: 13 May 2021
Date Written: May 13, 2021
Has Black Lives Matter influenced police lethal use-of-force? A difference-in-differences design finds census places with protests experienced a 15% to 20% decrease in police homicides from 2014 through 2019, around 300 fewer deaths. This decrease was prominent when protests were large or frequent. Potential mechanisms behind the reduction include police agencies obtaining body-worn cameras to curtail force and depolicing following a so-called `Ferguson Effect.' Fewer property crimes, but more murders, were reported to agencies with local protests; in contrast, the property crime clearance rate fell. Demographic imbalance by protest status and limited variation in treatment timing warrant a cautious interpretation.
Keywords: Black Lives Matter, Police, Law and Economics, Police Homicides, Use-of-force, Law Enforcement, Ferguson Effect, Depolicing
JEL Classification: K42, Z13, D74
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation