The impact of affirmative action litigation on police killings of civilians

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120221-WP-The impact of affirmative action litigation on police killings of civilians-Cox Cunningham and Ortega

Robynn Cox, University of Southern California
Jamein Cunningham, Cornell University
Alberto Ortega, Indiana University


Although research has shown that court-ordered hiring quotas increase the number of minority police officers in litigated cities, there has been little insight into how workforce diversity, or lack thereof, may impact police violence. Using an event-study framework, we find that the threat of affirmative action litigation reduces police killings of non-white civilians in the long-run. In addition, we find evidence of lower arrest rates for non-white civilians and more diverse police departments 25 years after litigation. Our results highlight the vital role that federal interventions have in addressing police behavior and the use of lethal force.


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