U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Structural Determinants of Police Effectiveness in Market Democracies

NCJ Number
Police Quarterly Volume: 9 Issue: 1 Dated: March 2006 Pages: 3-19
Hung-En Sung
Date Published
March 2006
17 pages
This study examined the social, political, and economic factors associated with perceptions of police effectiveness in 28 market democracies.
Results indicated public perception of police effectiveness was higher in countries with lower levels of homicide, greater judiciary independence, and greater citizen wealth. Factors associated with perceptions of low police effectiveness included greater political freedoms and lower robbery rates. Factors that had no significant impact on public perceptions of police effectiveness were population size, size of police force, and unemployment rates. The findings underscore the importance of a good economy and sound judicial governance on public perceptions of police effectiveness in market democracies. As such, improving public perceptions of police will require policy attention to factors other than the police force. The author suggests that increased democratization of police tactics and strategies and improved media portrayals of crime will help improve public perceptions of police effectiveness. Data were drawn from the Executive Opinion Survey, a random, stratified survey of business executives conducted annually by the World Economic Forum that asks business executives and analysts from 59 countries their opinion of whether private businesses can rely on the police for protection. The analysis focused on the 28 countries that had completed data for the following variables: levels of homicide and robbery, relative size of police, judicial independence, degree of democratization, average national income, unemployment, and population size. Data analysis involved the calculations of intercorrelations among the variables and multivariate regression models. Tables, appendix, references