In an op-ed in The Appeal Professor John Pfaff examines the different studies that measure the cost-benefit of policing and ways in which the research on policing can be improved.
One of the many questions raised by the defund movement: Is spending on police justifiable from a policy perspective?
Remarkably, we do not have a good answer. If nothing else, there are only a handful of studies that really undertake clear cost-benefit analyses of policing. But the bigger problem is that even these studies fail to answer the question of the costs of policing, and that’s because of how they’re framed, not technical or methodological issues. There are at least three significant ways that these studies go astray.
The first thing to note is that even taken on their own terms, most studies of the effectiveness of police are not really measuring the effect of police.