Developing a Cross-National Index of Police Decentralization

  • Grichawat Lowatcharin College of Local Administration, Khon Kaen University
  • Judith I. Stallmann Agricultural and Applied Economics, Rural Sociology and Public Affairs and Community Development State Extension Specialist, the University of Missouri
Keywords: police system, policing, decentralization, local government


In countries with multiple tiers of government, police systems can be more centralized or more decentralized. Since the 1990s, there have been calls for empirical studies of the effects of police systems on police performance, but the literature lacks a standardized typology of police systems. This study aims to develop a typology of police systems, the Police Decentralization Index, that integrates theories using new institutionalism and decentralization and can measure varying degrees of police decentralization across countries. The index focuses on vertical decentralization of policing and, instead of classifying the diverse police systems into binary categories of centralized and decentralized systems, it measures thedegree of police decentralization based on the number of tiers of government that have administrative/political control over the police relative to the total number of tiers of government. The index not only conforms with existing typologies but also is more conducive to cross-national empirical studies.


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How to Cite
Lowatcharin, G., & Stallmann, J. I. (2017). Developing a Cross-National Index of Police Decentralization. Social Science Asia, 3(4), 29-53. Retrieved from
Research Article