NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Steven Pawlowski

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Florida State University
Tallahassee FL, 32306

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NBER Working Papers and Publications

September 2017Civil Asset Forfeiture, Crime, and Police Incentives: Evidence from the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984
with Shawn Kantor, Carl Kitchens: w23873
The 1984 federal Comprehensive Crime Control Act (CCCA) included a provision that permitted local law enforcement agencies to share up to 80 percent of the proceeds derived from civil asset forfeitures obtained in joint operations with federal authorities. This procedure became known as “equitable sharing.” In this paper we investigate how this rule governing forfeited assets influenced crime and police incentives by taking advantage of pre-existing differences in state level civil asset forfeiture law and the timing of the CCCA. We find that after the CCCA was enacted crime fell about 17 percent in places where the federal law allowed police to retain more of their seized assets than state law previously allowed. Equitable sharing also led police agencies to reallocate their effort toward...
 
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