Publications

Andrew McCall (2019).  "Resident Assistance, Police Chief Learning, and the Persistence of Aggressive Policing Tactics in Black Neighborhoods.  Journal of Politics, 81(3 ), 1133-1142. 


Laura Stoker and Andrew McCall (2017). ``The Quest for Representative Survey Samples" in The Routledge Handbook of Elections, Voting Behavior and Public Opinion, Justin  Fisher, Edward Fieldhouse, Mark N. Franklin, Rachel Gibson, Marta Cantijoch, and Christopher Wlezien (eds.), Routledge. 

Working Papers - please email if you would like to read them.

What Police Chiefs Show Officers About Race and Arrest Decisions


Abstract: Scholarship on racial inequality in policing has largely focused on factors that would cause individual officers to rely on race when deciding whether to make an arrest.  Extant explanations suggest that if officers chose not to discriminate and managed to eliminate the influence of stereotypes and implicit associations on their behavior, any remaining racial disparity would be statistical discrimination.  I argue that this is not, in general, true.  I show that when officers are uncertain whether their police chief is independent of political pressures, the chief cannot communicate the reason for their policy choices.  Therefore if the chief is better informed than the officers about what arrest intensities would be optimal for reducing crime, chief policy choice will give officers exaggerated or understated posterior beliefs about the probability that individuals within a particular group should be arrested.  Under certain conditions this would lead to the endogenous development of taste-based discrimination.



Skeptical Officers, Uncertain Chiefs, and Racial Inequality in Arrests


Abstract: This paper examines the conditions under which municipal police chiefs in the latter half of the 20th century would have adopted policies that reduced the concentration of arrests among Black residents.  I use a two player game of incomplete information, in which the commonly valued outcome depends upon non-contractible effort from a less informed subordinate, to show that officer uncertainty about their chief's competence and skepticism of policies that sanction Black people less could have prevented chiefs from adopting such a policy in equilibrium.  This conservatism arises even when both chief and officer are not individually racist and the chief knows that the new policy would be more effective at controlling crime.  This structural racism in department policy adoption helps explain how stark racial differences in police contact persisted through the decades prior to the War on Drugs.