Coase-Sandor Working Paper Series in Law and Economics


John LottFollow

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Law & Economics Working Papers


Will increasing the number of minority and women police officers make law enforcement more effective by drawing on abilities that have gone untapped and creating better contact with communities and victims? Or will standards have to be lowered too far before large numbers of minorities and women can be hired? Using cross-sectional time-series data for U.S. cities for 1987, 1990, and 1993, I find that more black and minority police officers increase crime rates. This arises because lower hiring standards involved in recruiting more minority officers reduces the quality of both new minority and new nonminority officers. The most adverse effects of these hiring policies have occurred in the most heavily black populated areas. The annual victim costs for all categories of crimes was at least $5.4 billion. Other issues addressed are: the impact that this changing composition of police departments has on their organization as well as the murder of and assaults against police officers.



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