The Effect of Minority Peers on Future Arrest Quantity and Quality

84 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2022

Date Written: March 26, 2022

Abstract

A common proposal to improve US policing is to increase minority representation in police departments. The net effect of such policies depends on the direct effect of the minority officers as well as their peer effect on others. I document the effect of minority peers in the Chicago police academy on officers' future arrests by exploiting the lottery system which provides exogenous variation in the composition of academy cohorts. I find that minority (e.g., Black, Hispanic) peers reduce officers' future propensity to arrest minority civilians through a reduction in low-quality, low-level arrests. For example, a 1 standard deviation increase in Black cohort share decreases future arrests of Black civilians for low-level crimes by about 1 arrest per 100 officer-shifts. Additional results suggest that other peer characteristics, such as age and gender, modify the effect of minority peers, which is consistent with peers' preferences for aggressive policing playing an important role beyond their minority status.

Keywords: Policing, Peer Effects, Diversity, Personnel Economics

JEL Classification: K00, K14, K42, J4, J15, J48

Suggested Citation

Rivera, Roman, The Effect of Minority Peers on Future Arrest Quantity and Quality (March 26, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4067011 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4067011

Roman Rivera (Contact Author)

Columbia University ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

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