Collective Bargaining Rights, Policing, and Civilian Deaths

75 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2021

See all articles by Jamein Cunningham

Jamein Cunningham

University of Memphis - Economics

Donna Feir

Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis; University of Victoria; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Rob Gillezeau

University of Victoria

Abstract

Do collective bargaining rights for law enforcement result in more civilian deaths at the hands of the police? Using an event-study design, we find that the introduction of duty to bargain requirements with police unions has led to a significant increase in non-white civilian deaths at the hands of police during the late twentieth century. We find no impact on various crime rate measures and suggestive evidence of a decline in police employment, consistent with increasing compensation. Our results indicate that the adoption of collective bargaining rights for law enforcement can explain approximately 10 percent of the total non-white civilian deaths at the hands of law enforcement between 1959 and 1988. This effect is robust to a contiguous county approach, accounting for heterogeneity in treatment timing, and numerous other specifications. While the relationship between police unions and violence against civilians is not clear ex-ante, our results show that the popular notion that police unions exacerbate police violence is empirically grounded.

JEL Classification: J15, K42, J45, J58, N3

Suggested Citation

Cunningham, Jamein and Feir, Donna and Gillezeau, Rob, Collective Bargaining Rights, Policing, and Civilian Deaths. IZA Discussion Paper No. 14208, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3813635

Jamein Cunningham (Contact Author)

University of Memphis - Economics ( email )

Memphis, TN 38152
United States

Donna Feir

Federal Reserve Banks - Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis ( email )

90 Hennepin Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55480
United States

University of Victoria

3800 Finnerty Rd
Victoria, British Columbia V8P 5C2
Canada

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Rob Gillezeau

University of Victoria ( email )

Victoria V8W Y2Y, BC
Canada

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