Estimating Effects of Affirmative Action in Policing: A Replication and Extension

Maryah Garner, Anna Harvey, Hunter Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many police departments in the United States have experienced externally-imposed affirmative action plans designed to increase the shares of nonwhite and female police officers. This paper examines whether externally-imposed affirmative action plans have impacted the rates of reported offenses and/or offenses cleared by arrest, seeking to replicate and extend Lott (2000) and McCrary (2007). Using a series of modern econometric strategies, including difference-in-differences decomposition and generalized synthetic controls, we do not find a significant effect of court-imposed affirmative action plans on the rates of reported offenses or reported offenses cleared by arrest, a finding consistent with McCrary (2007). We also consider whether unlitigated agencies change their practices due to the threat of litigation, but, like McCrary (2007), are unable to identify causal evidence of such threat effects. We suggest that, in the spirit of Miller and Segal (2018), future research seek to estimate the potentially racially heterogeneous treatment effects of race-based affirmative action plans on public safety outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105881
JournalInternational Review of Law and Economics
StatePublished - Jun 2020


  • Affirmative Action
  • Crime
  • Employment Discrimination
  • Policing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Finance
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Law


Dive into the research topics of 'Estimating Effects of Affirmative Action in Policing: A Replication and Extension'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this