Symbolic effects of representative bureaucracy in policing: An experimental replication in a Korean context (2021)

by Sunyoung Pyo

This study experimentally examines the effect of gender representation of a police organization responsible for handling domestic violence, and how this impacts Korean citizens' views toward the police. Findings show that male participants gave the highest ratings of legitimacy and fairness when the organization is equally represented by men and women, while gave low ratings of legitimacy and efficacy to the organization where women are over-represented. This implies that achieving gender balance in job assignments helps ensure the effectiveness of representative bureaucracy. On the other hand, female participants rated organization with equal representation positively only when they also demonstrated a high level of active representation for female victims. Given heightened gender conflict within Korean policing, female citizens might try to maintain objectivity about female officers.

Gender representation in police organizations: Do upper-level and street-level female bureaucrats differ in their roles? (2021)

by Sunyoung Pyo and Hongseok Lee

Some representative bureaucracy literature has suggested that increasing the share of female bureaucrats, particularly in supervisory positions, would not have a substantial influence on producing policy outcomes in favor of female clients because of the potential impact of organizational socialization. However, there has been little empirical investigation into how passive female representation across hierarchical ranks and its interaction influence policy outcomes for women. By analyzing data on 360 local U.S. police organizations in 2013 and 2016, we found that a higher proportion of female officers in first-line supervisory level positions was negatively linked to arrest performance for rape offenses, while a higher share of female street-level officers was not significantly linked to arrest performance for the same offenses. However, we noticed a positive interactive effect of the proportion of female street-level officers and female officers at the intermediate-level on rape arrests. These results imply that promoting female representation across different hierarchical ranks in police organizations will help to ensure the benefits of representative bureaucracy.

Does an Increased Share of Black Police Officers Decrease Racial Discrimination in Law Enforcement? (2022)

by Sunyoung Pyo

Based on representative bureaucracy theory, the current study investigates whether increasing Black representation in police forces is negatively associated with racial discrimination in law enforcement. This study additionally investigates how associations may differ according to the organizational or environmental contexts of the forces. Results show that an increased share of Black officers is associated with decreased police-involved deaths of Black residents, but is not significantly associated with a change in order maintenance arrests of Black suspects. In addition, the negative association between Black representation and police-involved deaths of Black residents disappears when the percent of Black officers surpasses about 15 percent, especially in organizations where White officers comprise a larger share. These findings support the potential negative role of organizational socialization on the effectiveness of increasing the share of Black officers in policing, implying that additional long-term efforts to change organizational culture are needed to realize the benefits of enhancing Black representation.

Understanding the Adoption and Implementation of Body-Worn Cameras among U.S. Local Police Departments (2022)

by Sunyoung Pyo

The national debate about police use of force against racial minority residents has led to increased attention to body-worn cameras (BWCs) as tools for increasing police accountability. Although researchers have documented the effectiveness of BWCs, little research has been done to examine why police departments decide to use them in the first place. Based on an innovation framework, the current study aims to explain what factors determine police departments’ decisions to implement BWCs. By examining 139 U.S. police departments using event history analyses, I find that the police departments with a higher severity of police-involved deaths of minority residents and a higher strength of social movements protesting police brutality are more likely to implement BWCs. In addition, some organizational and environmental factors, including the availability of federal grants and the council-manager form of government, have significant associations with BWC implementation. Findings also suggest that different patterns of BWC implementation are demonstrated according to environmental context.

Do Body-Worn Cameras Change Law Enforcement Arrest Behavior? A National Study of Local Police Departments (2021)

by Sunyoung Pyo

Controlling police officers’ discretionary behavior during public encounters has been an important issue in U.S. policing, especially following several high-profile police-involved deaths of racial minorities. In response, body-worn cameras (BWCs) were introduced to enhance police accountability by providing police managers an opportunity to monitor police–public encounters. Although many U.S. local police departments have now implemented BWC programs, evidence of program effects on daily police behavior has been limited. This study therefore focuses on whether officers’ arrest behavior changes when they perceive that BWCs are recording their interactions with the public. By conducting a difference-in-differences analysis using 142 police departments, I found that BWCs have negative and small treatment effects on arrest rates and null effects on the racial disparity between numbers of Black and White arrests. These findings imply that officers may become slightly more cautious in the use of arrests after wearing BWCs, but BWCs do not change their overall disparate treatment of Black versus White suspects. The results further indicate that the effects of BWCs on arrests are prominent in municipalities with high crime rates or a high proportion of non-White residents, which suggests that BWC programs demonstrate different effects according to the characteristics of communities served.

Contingency Factors Explaining Policy Adoption: Body-Worn Camera Policy Across U.S. States (2020)

by Sunyoung Pyo

Policy researchers suggest that governments respond to societal problems with public policy. However, empirical evidence is mixed regarding the effect of problem severity on state policy adoption in diverse policy areas. One possible cause of these inconsistencies may be attributable to the fact that states’ other internal characteristics can affect the way problem severity influences state policy adoption. In this paper, I apply Mohr’s (1969) organizational innovation theory to the case of state body-worn camera (BWC) legislation. I examine how the interaction of problem severity with factors representing states’ obstacles against innovation and resources supporting innovation explains states’ adoption of BWC legislation. The results of fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis support the importance of considering this interactive effect. Specifically, results suggest that the problem of police use of deadly force against minority residents has led to the adoption of BWC legislation only when strong resistance from police unions is absent, political or socioeconomic resources are present, or both. This study also discusses implications for scholars and policymakers about the important role of police unions in shaping policy related to police practice.

Promoting the use of open government data: Cases of training and engagement (2018)

by Mila Gascó-Hernández, Erika G. Martin, Luigi Reggi, Sunyoung Pyo, Luis F. Luna-Reyes

In the last decade, governments around the world have created open government data (OGD) repositories to make government data more accessible and usable by the public, mostly motivated by values such as improved government transparency, citizen collaboration and participation, and spurring innovation. The basic assumption is that once data are more discoverable, accessible, available in alternative formats, and with licensing schemes that allow free re-use, diverse stakeholders will develop innovative data applications. Despite OGD's potential transformative value, there is limited evidence for such transformation, particularly due to scarce data use, which is partly attributable to the lack of technical skills and user training. To advance the dialogue around methods to increase awareness of OGD, improve users' skills to work with OGD, and encourage data use, the paper compares and contrasts how three training interventions in Spain, Italy, and the United States have sought to increase awareness of OGD, improve users' skills and potentially engage them in their use of OGD. We report three main findings. First, introduction and analysis skills are taught in combination to encourage use of open data. Being aware of OGD and its benefits is insufficient to promote use. Second, OGD training seems to be more effective when complemented with knowledge about context and interactions with government. Finally, embedding the training interventions in the specific contexts and considering the unique characteristics, interests, and expectations of different types of users is critical to success.