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Project Citation: 

Owens, Emily, and Ba, Bocar. Data and Code for: The Economics of Policing and Public Safety. Nashville, TN: American Economic Association [publisher], 2021. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2021-11-03.

Project Description

Summary:  View help for Summary The efficiency of any police action depends on the relative magnitude of its crime reducing benefits and legitimacy costs. Policing strategies that are socially efficient at the city level may be harmful at the local level, because the distribution of direct costs and benefits of police actions that reduce victimization is not the same as the distribution of indirect benefits of feeling safe. In the United States, the local misallocation of police resources is disproportionately borne by Black and Hispanic people. Despite the complexity of this particular problem, we point out that the incentives facing both police departments and police officers tend to be structured as if the goals of policing were simple - to reduce crime by as much as possible. Data collection on the crime reducing benefits of policing, and not the legitimacy costs, produce further incentives to provide more engagement than may be efficient in any specific encounter, at both the officer and departmental level. There is currently little evidence as to what screening, training, or monitoring strategies are most effective at encouraging individual officers to balance the crime reducing benefits and legitimacy costs of their actions.

Scope of Project

Subject Terms:  View help for Subject Terms Policing
JEL Classification:  View help for JEL Classification
      H76 State and Local Government: Other Expenditure Categories
      K14 Criminal Law
Geographic Coverage:  View help for Geographic Coverage USA
Time Period(s):  View help for Time Period(s) 1993 – 2016
Collection Date(s):  View help for Collection Date(s) 2020 – 2021 (Dates refer to when authors accessed existing data sets)
Data Type(s):  View help for Data Type(s) administrative records data; survey data

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