Universidad de los Andes Facultad de Economía Por: Ana María Ibáñez, Amy Ritterbusch, Catherine Rodriguez
This paper uses a natural experiment to identify the impact of a judicial system reform on police behavior. The study finds that, after a decrease in the severity of judicial punishment imposed on Colombian adolescents, arrest rates for adolescents in most misdemeanor crimes decreased due to a change in police behavior. The magnitude of this effect ranged between 0.08 to 0.321 standard deviations. The uncertainty on how to operate the new system, the lack of training, and the potential disciplinary sanctions led police officials to reduce arrest rates.