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Racial Bias in Motor Vehicle Searches: Additional Theory and Evidence

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  • Dharmapala Dhammika

    ()
    (University of Connecticut)

  • Ross Stephen L

    ()
    (University of Connecticut)

Abstract

Knowles, Persico, and Todd (2001) develop a model of police search and offender behavior. Their model implies that if police are unprejudiced the rate of guilt should not vary across groups. Using data from Interstate 95 in Maryland, they find equal guilt rates for African-Americans and whites and conclude that the data is not consistent with racial prejudice against African-Americans. This paper generalizes the model of Knowles, Persico, and Todd by accounting for the fact that potential offenders are frequently not observed by the police, and by including two different levels of offense severity. We show that the data is consistent with prejudice against African-American males, no prejudice, and reverse discrimination, depending on the type of equilibrium that exists. Additional analyses, based on stratification by type of vehicle and time of day, do not shed any light on the nature of the equilibrium.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by De Gruyter in its journal The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy.

Volume (Year): 3 (2004)
Issue (Month): 1 (September)
Pages: 1-23

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Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:contributions.3:y:2004:i:1:n:12

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  1. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
  2. Stefan Szymanski, 2000. "A Market Test for Discrimination in the English Professional Soccer Leagues," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(3), pages 590-603, June.
  3. Calem Paul & Stutzer Michael, 1995. "The Simple Analytics of Observed Discrimination in Credit Markets," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 4(3), pages 189-212, July.
  4. Besanko, David & Thakor, Anjan V, 1987. "Collateral and Rationing: Sorting Equilibria in Monopolistic and Competitive Credit Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 28(3), pages 671-89, October.
  5. John Knowles & Nicola Persico & Petra Todd, 1999. "Racial Bias in Motor Vehicle Searches: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7449, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Borooah, Vani K., 2001. "Racial bias in police stops and searches: an economic analysis," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 17-37, March.
  7. Paul Calem & Michael Stutzer, 1995. "The simple analytics of observed discrimination in credit markets," Working Papers 95-7, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
  8. Nicola Persico, 2002. "Racial Profiling, Fairness, and Effectiveness of Policing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1472-1497, December.
  9. Donohue, John J, III & Levitt, Steven D, 2001. "The Impact of Race on Policing and Arrests," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44(2), pages 367-94, October.
  10. Stephen L. Ross & John Yinger, 2002. "The Color of Credit: Mortgage Discrimination, Research Methodology, and Fair-Lending Enforcement," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262182289, January.
  11. Stephen L Ross, 2000. "Mortgage Lending, Sample Selection and Default," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 28(4), pages 581-621.
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Cited by:
  1. Nicola Persico & Petra Todd, 2005. "Using Hit Rates to Test for Racial Bias in Law Enforcement: Vehicle Searches in Wichita," PIER Working Paper Archive 05-004, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania.
  2. Kate Antonovics & Brian G. Knight, 2009. "A New Look at Racial Profiling: Evidence from the Boston Police Department," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(1), pages 163-177, February.
  3. Blumkin, Tomer & Margalioth, Yoram, 2008. "On terror, drugs and racial profiling," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 194-203, September.
  4. Nicola Persico & Petra Todd, 2004. "Using Hit Rate Tests to Test for Racial Bias in Law Enforcement: Vehicle Searches in Wichita," NBER Working Papers 10947, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Shamena Anwar & Hanming Fang, 2004. "An Alternative Test of Racial Prejudice in Motor Vehicle Searches: Theory and Evidence," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1464, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  6. Jack Glaser, 2006. "The efficacy and effect of racial profiling: A mathematical simulation approach," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(2), pages 395-416.
  7. Brock, William A. & Cooley, Jane & Durlauf, Steven N. & Navarro, Salvador, 2012. "On the observational implications of taste-based discrimination in racial profiling," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 166(1), pages 66-78.
  8. Rubén Hernández-Murillo & John Knowles, 2004. "Racial profiling or racist policing? bounds tests in aggregate data," Working Papers 2004-012, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
  9. Mason, Patrick L., 2007. "Driving while black: do police pass the test?," MPRA Paper 11328, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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