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From broken windows to broken bonds: Militarized police and social fragmentation

Michael A. Insler, Bryce McMurrey and Alexander McQuoid ()

Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 2019, vol. 163, issue C, 43-62

Abstract: Expansion of police militarization in the U.S. raises questions about how such policing affects society and minority communities. We estimate the impact of one particular aspect of police militarization—the Department of Defense’s Excess Property Program 1033—on civic engagement—which we capture primarily by examining charitable giving among households—via an instrumental variables approach. The instrument stems from plausibly exogenous variation in federal defense spending, which affects awareness of military culture and capabilities, and thus encourages the adoption of military equipment and tactics by local police departments. Estimates show that the 1033 Program has a fragmenting effect on society: As the transfer of surplus military equipment to local law enforcement increases, black households reduce their total charitable donations more than all other households.

Keywords: 1033 Program; Excess property program; Charitable giving; Social fragmentation; Police militarization; Civic engagement (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D10 D64 H31 H57 H73 J15 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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Working Paper: From Broken Windows to Broken Bonds: Militarized Police and Social Fragmentation (2016) Downloads
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DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2019.04.012

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Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization is currently edited by Houser, D. and Puzzello, D.

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