My Students

Emily Weisburst

Emily’s research is in labor/public finance with focuses on criminal justice and education.

Her job market paper, “Whose Help Is on the Way? The Importance of Individual Police Officers in Law Enforcement Outcomes” examines the behavior of police officers and the role of police discretion on the outcomes of police calls for service.  While the police clearly have the opportunity to use their own discretion, a key question is whether or not, for a given set of circumstances, outcomes vary substantially depending on the officer assigned to an incident.

Using incident-level data from the Dallas Police Department, Emily estimates how individual officers affect the outcomes of police incidents, holding other characteristics of the incidents constant.  She finds substantial variation in police arrest behavior conditional on incident characteristics, suggesting a role for police discretion in the outcomes of a 911 call; these effects are substantively large, with a one standard deviation in an officer’s propensity to arrest leading to a 33% increase in the likelihood that an incident results in an arrest. These results hold even after numerous checks for selection into incident response.  She also finds that they are important for explaining the total variation in arrest rates; police officer fixed effects can account for approximately 15 percent of the explainable variation in incident arrests.

Emily’s dissertation also includes chapters on investments in police hiring in both municipal police departments and public schools.  (Her third chapter is already R&R at JPAM.)

She was awarded the prestigious NAEd Spencer Dissertation Fellowship for researchers doing work in education.  Emily is a truly outstanding researcher, with drive and passion combined with great technical skills and an incredible aptitude for research.

You can find more information about Emily at

Some Previous Graduate Students

Jeff Denning (BYU)

Qian Lu (Edgeworth Consulting)

Kaveh Majlesi (Lund University)

Chester Polson (FDIC)

Marcus Dillender (Upjohn Institute)