The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

Applied Economics: M.S.




School of Public Affairs

First Advisor

Dr. Lynn MacDonald

Second Advisor

Dr. Mana Komai

Third Advisor

Dr. Dick Andzenge

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

Police, Expenditures, Crime, Governments, Determinants, City


Since the 1980’s, justice system expenditures in the United States have increased nearly 300%, adjusting for inflation. And though rates of violent and property crimes have decreased by close to 50% since the 1990’s, total arrests have fallen by only 20% in the same period. The relationship between crime and police expenditures has yet to be answered to a definitive degree. This paper attempts to identify the social and economic factors that drive the changes in per-capita police spending of 140 large city governments in the United States, for the eight year period of 2005 to 2012. A fixed-effects panel model of per-capita police expenditures is developed using two-stage least-squares estimation. These findings suggest that local police expenditures may respond to local budgetary capacities and past spending to a greater degree than rates of violent crime and other social or demographic factors.


Acknowledgements to the outstanding members of my thesis committee, who were unwavering in providing suggestions and honest criticism when necessary. And a special thank you to my thesis advisor, Dr. Lynn MacDonald, for the countless hours of meetings and discussions that guided me along the way.