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Assessing Racial Profiling

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  • Steven N. Durlauf

Abstract

In this article I consider the evaluation of racial profiling in traffic stops from a combination of welfarist and non-welfarist considerations. I argue that benefits from profiling in terms of crime reduction have not been identified and that further, the harm to those who are innocent and stopped is potentially high. I then argue that profiling creates a clear injustice to innocent African Americans. Together, these claims make the assessment of profiling an example of decision making under ambiguity. I resolve the ambiguity with a Fairness Presumption which leads me to reject profiling in traffic stops as a public policy. Copyright 2006 The Author(s). Journal compilation Royal Economic Society 2006.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 116 (2006)
Issue (Month): 515 (November)
Pages: F402-F426

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Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:116:y:2006:i:515:p:f402-f426

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References

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  1. John Knowles & Nicola Persico & Petra Todd, . "Racial Bias in Motor Vehicle Searches: Theory and Evidence," Penn CARESS Working Papers 5940d5c4875c571776fb29700, Penn Economics Department.
  2. Sen, Amartya, 1970. "The Impossibility of a Paretian Liberal," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 78(1), pages 152-57, Jan.-Feb..
  3. John E. Roemer, 2004. "Eclectic Distributional Ethics," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm348, Yale School of Management.
  4. Charles Manski, 2003. "Statistical treatment rules for heterogeneous populations," CeMMAP working papers CWP03/03, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  5. Louis Kaplow & Steven Shavell, 2001. "Any Non-welfarist Method of Policy Assessment Violates the Pareto Principle," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(2), pages 281-286, April.
  6. Roemer, J.E., 1992. "A Pragmatic Theory of Responsibility for the Egalitarian Planner," Papers 391, California Davis - Institute of Governmental Affairs.
  7. Sen, Amartya Kumar, 1970. "The Impossibility of a Paretian Liberal," Scholarly Articles 3612779, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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Cited by:
  1. 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.
  2. Charles F. Manski, 2005. "Search Profiling with Partial Knowledge of Deterrence," NBER Working Papers 11848, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Aronsson, Thomas & Johansson-Stenman, Olof, 2011. "Animal Welfare and Social Decisions," Working Papers in Economics 485, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  4. Ethan Cohen-Cole & Steven Durlauf & Jeffrey Fagan & Daniel Nagin, 2007. "Model uncertainty and the deterrent effect of capital punishment," Risk and Policy Analysis Unit Working Paper QAU07-3, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  5. Sarah Marx Quintanar, . "Man vs. Machine: An Investigation of Speeding Ticket Disparities Based on Gender and Race," Departmental Working Papers 2009-16, Department of Economics, Louisiana State University.
  6. Durlauf,S.N., 2005. "Racial profiling as a public policy question : efficiency, equity, and ambiguity," Working papers 1, Wisconsin Madison - Social Systems.

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