Can Devolving the Police Increase the State's Capacity to Provide Legal Protection?

How should policing powers be structured to maximize the state's capacity to deliver legal protections to its citizens? When the state's reach is limited, those few interactions citizens have with police are often marked by corruption, absenteeism and abuse, contributing to dissatisfaction and distrust. These citizens sometimes rely on informal security providers-­‐such as chiefs, families and mobs-­‐who may not deliver justice fairly. Through a randomized controlled trial in Papua New Guinea, this study will evaluate the Community Auxiliary Police (CAP), a model of policing that attempts to extend state capacity to remote areas by devolving policing powers to carefully selected community members. The study assigns 2,800 individuals in 70 village clusters to either have or not have a CAP officer recruited in their village. Previous exploratory work funded by J-­PAL secured the full support of key implementing partners. The pilot will implement randomization, conduct baseline surveying and design panel measurement.

RFP Cycle:
Papua New Guinea
  • Jasper Cooper
  • Full project