Police Violence and Civic Engagement (with Desmond Ang)

American Political Science Review, 2023.

Roughly a thousand people are killed by American law enforcement officers each year, accounting for more than 5% of all homicides. We estimate the causal impact of these events on civic engagement. Exploiting hyperlocal variation in how close residents live to a killing, we find that exposure to police violence leads to significant increases in registrations and votes. These effects are driven entirely by Black and Hispanic citizens and are largest for killings of unarmed individuals. We find corresponding increases in support for criminal justice reforms, suggesting that police violence may cause voters to politically mobilize against perceived injustice.

Working Papers

Stopped by the Police: The End of “Stop-and-Frisk” on Crime and High School Engagement  (with Jeffrey Fagan)  [Slides, Updated Draft Coming Soon]

Over 3.5 million pedestrians are stopped by police in the United States every year. We study the impact of investigative pedestrian stops on criminal activity and high school engagement by leveraging a lawsuit that abruptly reduced stop rates in New York City without altering patrol officer presence. Using differences-in-differences, we find that treatment neighborhoods experienced twice the reduction in stop rates but did not display differential increases in felonies and violent misdemeanors or other crime measures over the five years following the reform. Our estimates rule out a 1.5% increase in felonies and violent misdemeanors. Coinciding with the reform, we document a sharp 44% reduction in the likelihood of leaving high school due to criminal justice involvement. Reductions are nearly three times larger for students from high-stop neighborhoods and six times larger for Black male students. We also observe sharp reductions in suspensions, chronic absenteeism, and dropout rates.

Research in Progress

Racial Bias in Police Stopping Decisions (with Jeffrey Fagan)

Policing Minor Offenses and the Early-life Trajectory of Urban Men: Evidence from Linked Tax and Court Records (with Benjamin Goldman)

Academics and Athletics: A Randomized Trial of Multi-Faceted Mentorship (with Noam Angrist)

Mentoring Across Lines of Difference: Randomized Evidence on Comprehensive Mentorship for Students At Risk of Dropping Out of High School (with Bill Evans and Sarah Kroeger) [AEA Registry] 

Can Emergency Financial Assistance Prevent Financial Distress? Randomized Evidence from Funeral Assistance in Chicago (with Mary Kate Batistich) [AEA Registry]

Supporting Pathways out of Poverty: Randomized Evaluation of Mobility Mentoring (with Larry Katz and Liz Engle) [AEA Registry] 

Seeing is Believing? A Cognitive View of Program Take-up (with Olga Stoddard and Patrick Turner) [AEA Registry]

Elevating Families: Randomized Evidence on Goal-oriented Case Management for Low-income Parents and their Children (with Tyler Giles) [AEA Registry]

Fostering Independence: Randomized Evidence on Incentivized Case Management and Savings Accounts for Youth Aging Out of Foster Care? (with Chris Mills)