NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Effect of Court-Ordered Hiring Quotas on the Composition and Quality of Police

Justin McCrary

NBER Working Paper No. 12368
Issued in July 2006
NBER Program(s):   LS   PE

Arguably the most aggressive affirmative action program ever implemented in the United States was a series of court-ordered racial hiring quotas imposed on municipal police departments. My best estimate of the effect of court-ordered affirmative action on workforce composition is a 14 percentage point gain in the fraction African American among newly hired officers. Evidence on police performance is mixed. Despite substantial black-white test score differences on police department entrance examinations, city crime rates appear unaffected by litigation. However, litigation lowers slightly both arrests per crime and the fraction black among serious arrestees.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w12368

Published: McCrary, Justin. "The Effect of Court-Ordered Hiring Quotas on the Composition and Quality of Police." American Economic Review 97, 1 (2008): 318-353.

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