Peer Effects in Police Use of Force
Justin E. Holz
Roman G. Rivera
Bocar A. Ba
- American Economic Journal: Economic Policy (Forthcoming)
We study the link between police officers’ on-duty injuries and their
peers’ force-use using a network of officers who attended the police
academy together through a random lottery. On-duty injuries increase
the probability of officers using force by 7% in the subsequent week.
Officers are also more likely to injure suspects and receive complaints
about neglecting victims and violating constitutional rights. The effect
is concentrated in a narrow time window following the event and is not
associated with significantly lower injury risk to the officer. Together,
these findings suggest that emotional responses drive the effects rather
than social learning.
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