Racial Representation in Local Government and Racial Disparities in Policing

26 Pages Posted: 3 May 2024

See all articles by Xiaohong Wang

Xiaohong Wang

University of Pittsburgh

Daniel Jones

University of Pittsburgh - Graduate School of Public & International Affairs

Jiangnan Zeng

University of Pittsburgh

Abstract

We draw on statewide data from North Carolina to examine the impacts of racial and ethnic representation in city councils on policing. Specifically, we focus on out- comes of traffic stops; e.g., whether a driver receives a warning or a citation after being stopped. We first document large Black-white and Latino-white disparities in the like- lihood of consequence (arrest or citation) after a traffic stop. We then use a difference- in-differences design, focusing on changes following (narrow) elections of nonwhite (rather than white) councilmembers, and find that increased nonwhite council representation significantly reduces Black-white gaps in stops and actions taken after a stop. The magnitude of the reduction is similar with and without officer fixed effects, suggesting that results are largely driven by individual officer-level behavior change rather than a change in the composition of the police force.

Keywords: policing, representation, race

Suggested Citation

Wang, Xiaohong and Jones, Daniel and Zeng, Jiangnan, Racial Representation in Local Government and Racial Disparities in Policing. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4816595 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4816595

Xiaohong Wang

University of Pittsburgh ( email )

135 N Bellefield Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States

Daniel Jones (Contact Author)

University of Pittsburgh - Graduate School of Public & International Affairs ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA 15260-0001
United States

HOME PAGE: http://danielbjones.weebly.com

Jiangnan Zeng

University of Pittsburgh ( email )

135 N Bellefield Ave
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
8
Abstract Views
63
PlumX Metrics