The Introduction of Tasers and Police Use of Force: Evidence from the Chicago Police Department

Bocar Ba, Jeffrey Grogger

NBER Working Paper No. 24202
Issued in January 2018
NBER Program(s):Law and Economics, Labor Studies, Public Economics

In March 2010, the Chicago Police Department changed its Taser policy, issuing the weapons to patrol officers instead of largely restricting their use to sergeants. We used that policy change to obtain difference-in-difference estimates of how the availability of Tasers affected the types of force employed by police, the total number of use-of-force incidents, injury rates per incident, the total number of injuries, and the race distribution of civilians involved in use-of-force incidents. The policy change initially led to a large increase in the use of Tasers, with limited substitution from other types of force. After a period of re-training, substitution between Tasers and other types of force, both greater and lesser, increased. Police injuries fell, but neither injury rates nor the number of injuries to civilians were affected. There is no evidence that Tasers led to a reduction in police use of firearms.

You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from ($5) for electronic delivery.

Access to NBER Papers

You are eligible for a free download if you are a subscriber, a corporate associate of the NBER, a journalist, an employee of the U.S. federal government with a ".GOV" domain name, or a resident of nearly any developing country or transition economy.

If you usually get free papers at work/university but do not at home, you can either connect to your work VPN or proxy (if any) or elect to have a link to the paper emailed to your work email address below. The email address must be connected to a subscribing college, university, or other subscribing institution. Gmail and other free email addresses will not have access.


Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w24202

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded* these:
Amromin, De Nardi, and Schulze w24073 Household Inequality and the Consumption Response to Aggregate Real Shocks
Dobbie, Grönqvist, Niknami, Palme, and Priks w24186 The Intergenerational Effects of Parental Incarceration
Wolff w24085 Household Wealth Trends in the United States, 1962 to 2016: Has Middle Class Wealth Recovered?
Moscona, Nunn, and Robinson w24209 Social Structure and Conflict: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa
Jackson, Wigger, and Xiong w24203 Do School Spending Cuts Matter? Evidence from the Great Recession
NBER Videos

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email:

Contact Us