• AEA in the news
  • August 28, 2017

Reconsidering Police Militarization

Riot police stand in formation at an anti-Trump rally at the San Diego Convention Center.


The Washington Post and The New York Times cited two papers that appeared in the August issue of the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy in an article about President Trump’s plans to give surplus military weapons to local law enforcement agencies. The papers were used in a background brief prepared by the Justice Department, according to the Post. One of the papers by Vincenzo Bove and Evelina Gavrilova found that military aid was a cost-effective way to reduce street-level crime. The other, by Matthew C. Harris, Jinseong Park, Donald J. Bruce, and Matthew N. Murray, found that providing military equipment to local police had “generally positive effects.” It reduced citizen complaints and assaults on officers, while increasing drug crime arrests without increasing offender deaths.