Collective Bargaining Rights and Police Misconduct: Evidence from Florida

48 Pages Posted: 5 Jan 2018 Last revised: 28 Sep 2020

See all articles by Dhammika Dharmapala

Dhammika Dharmapala

University of Chicago Law School

Richard H. McAdams

University of Chicago Law School

John Rappaport

University of Chicago - Law School

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: August 1, 2019

Abstract

We provide quasi-experimental evidence on the effects of law enforcement collective bargaining rights on violent incidents of misconduct. Our empirical strategy exploits a 2003 Florida Supreme Court decision (Williams) conferring collective bargaining rights on sheriffs’ deputies. Using a state administrative database of “moral character” violations over 1996-2015, we implement a difference-in-difference approach in which police departments (which were unaffected by Williams) serve as a control group for sheriffs’ offices. Our estimates imply that collective bargaining rights led to a substantial increase in violent incidents of misconduct among sheriffs’ offices relative to police departments. This result is robust to including only violent incidents involving officers hired before Williams, suggesting that it is due to a deterrence mechanism rather than compositional effects. In a separate event-study analysis, unionization is associated with higher levels of violent misconduct, and so appears to be a channel for the effect.

Keywords: Collective bargaining rights; Police unions; Police misconduct; Law enforcement

JEL Classification: K42; J50; J45

Suggested Citation

Dharmapala, Dhammika and McAdams, Richard H. and Rappaport, John, Collective Bargaining Rights and Police Misconduct: Evidence from Florida (August 1, 2019). University of Chicago Coase-Sandor Institute for Law & Economics Research Paper No. 831, U of Chicago, Public Law Working Paper No. 655, Journal of Law, Economics, & Organization, forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3095217 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3095217

Dhammika Dharmapala (Contact Author)

University of Chicago Law School ( email )

1111 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Richard H. McAdams

University of Chicago Law School ( email )

1111 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
773-834-2520 (Phone)

John Rappaport

University of Chicago - Law School ( email )

1111 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
773-834-7194 (Phone)
773-702-0730 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.uchicago.edu/faculty/rappaport

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