Do police maximize arrests or minimize crime? Evidence from racial profiling in U.S. cities
Journal of the European Economic Association
PDF (working paper)
It is difficult to identify sources of discrimination in police stop and search data. In part, this is due to uncertainty over the objective of discretionary police stops: do officers aim to maximize arrests or to minimize crime? In this paper, I compare theoretical predictions implied by these two objectives to data from U.S. cities. Empirical evidence is consistent with a model of arrest maximization and inconsistent with a model of crime minimization. The findings support the validity of existing tests for discrimination that rely on the assumption that police officers maximize arrests.
Polling Place Location and the Costs of Voting
Revise and Resubmit at AEJ: Economic Policy
PDF [New draft 07/2022]
We study how distance to one's polling place affects the likelihood of voting, either in-person or by mail. We use a border discontinuity design, with data from over 15 million voters in Pennsylvania and Georgia. The average effect of distance to the polling place on turnout is small, in part because voters substitute to mail-in voting. A one mile increase in distance to polling place decreases the likelihood of voting in a general election by up to 0.99 percentage points. The effect is larger in areas with a heavy reliance on public transportation and in low income areas. Using these estimates, we identify the turnout-maximizing locations of polling places and compute gains to turnout.
Crossing the District Line: Border Mismatch and Targeted Redistribution
PDF [New draft 05/2022]
Electoral district borders regularly cross the borders of local governments. At the same time, legislatures allocate resources using transfers to local governments. Political parties may try to target these transfers in order to win elections, but can only do so imperfectly because of border mismatch. This border mismatch creates inequality: otherwise similar local governments receive different transfers depending on the district map. To show this, I incorporate border mismatch into a model of political competition and test the predictions using data on transfers from U.S. states to counties. The results demonstrate a novel link between redistricting and voter welfare.