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Category: Data

Description: Researchers are increasingly exploring the consequences of policing for the educational outcomes of minority youth. This study contributes to this literature by asking three questions. First, what are racial/ethnic disparities in long-term exposure to neighborhood policing? Second, how does this exposure affect high school graduation? Third, how much of the ethnoracial gap in high school graduation would remain if neighborhood policing was equalized? To address these questions, we use data from the New York City Department of Education and follow five cohorts of NYC public school students from middle to high school. Our findings reveal starkly different experiences with neighborhood policing across racial/ethnic groups. Using novel methods for time-varying treatment effects, we find that long-term exposure to neighborhood policing has negative effects on high school graduation, with important differences across racial/ethnic groups. Using gap-closing estimands, we show that assigning a sample of Black and Latino students to the same level of neighborhood policing as White students would close the Black–White gap in high school graduation by more than one quarter and the Latino–White gap by almost one fifth. Alternatively, we explore interventions where policing is solely a function of violent crime, which close the Black–White gap by as much as one tenth. Our study advances previous research by focusing on cumulative, long-term exposure to neighborhood policing and by assessing various counterfactual scenarios that inform research and policy.


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