The Political Economy of Enforcer Liability for Wrongful Police Stops


This article questions whether excessive policing practices can persist in an environment where law enforcement policies are subject to political pressures. Specifically, it considers a setting where the police decide whether to conduct stops based on the suspiciousness of a person's behavior and the potential liability for conducting a wrongful stop. We establish that the liability level that results in a voting equilibrium is smaller than optimal, and, consequently, that excessive policing practices emerge in equilibrium.