Public Choice

, Volume 175, Issue 1–2, pp 181–196 | Cite as

Protest and property crime: political use of police resources and the deterrence of crime

  • Jaewook Byeon
  • Iljoong Kim
  • Dongwon Lee


This article investigates the claim that the political use of police resources promotes crime. Using a panel of South Korean metropolitan areas, we show that (1) the reallocation of police resources toward the control of political protests reduces arrest rates for crime and (2) the resulting reduction in criminal arrests significantly increases the incidence of crime. Overall, the impact of the reallocation of police resources works mainly through tradeoffs with arrest rates. Our findings imply that it is not the size of the police per se, but the allocation of police resources toward crime control that deters crime.


Police resource allocation Protest control Strategic defection Probability of arrest Deterrence of crime 

JEL Classification

K42 H39 



We wish to thank an anonymous reviewer, editors William F. Shughart II and Pete Leeson, Seokju Cho, Jaesung Choi, Hyunchul Kim, Minseong Kim, Ayoung Lee, Junsang Lee, Minsoo Park, and participants at the meetings of the Korean Association of Public Finance and the Korea International Economic Association for valuable comments and suggestions. We also thank the Korean National Police Agency, various Metropolitan Police Agencies, and the staffs of the Police Statistical Yearbook for providing data on protests and police deployment. Finally, Dowon Kim, Kyongpyo Ko, and Joowon Lee provided excellent research assistance. This work was supported by the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea and the National Research Foundation of Korea Grant (Grant Number NRF-2015S1A5A2A03049110).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsSungkyunkwan University (SKKU)SeoulSouth Korea

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