DP5837 Computing Crime: Information Technology, Police Effectiveness and the Organization of Policing
|Author(s):||Luis Garicano, Paul Heaton|
|Publication Date:||September 2006|
|Keyword(s):||hierarchy, information technology, organization, police, skills|
|JEL(s):||K42, L23, M5, O33|
|Programme Areas:||Labour Economics, Industrial Organization|
|Link to this Page:||cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=5837|
How does information technology (IT) affect the organization of police work? How does it in turn affect police crime-fighting effectiveness? To answer these questions, we construct a new panel data set of police departments covering 1987-2003. We find that while IT adoption had substantial effects on a wide range of police organizational practices, it had, by itself, a negligible impact on crime-fighting effectiveness. These results are robust to various methods for controlling for agency-level characteristics and the endogeneity of IT use. We then suggest and test two explanations for this puzzle. First, we demonstrate that use of a particular technology, computerized record-keeping, increased recorded crime rates. Second, we provide evidence that IT investments only had a substantial impact on crime clearance rates and crime rates when undertaken as part of a broad set of complementary organizational practices such as those in the Compstat program.