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Racial Profiling Or Racist Policing? Bounds Tests In Aggregate Data

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  • Rubén Hernández-Murillo
  • John Knowles

Abstract

State-wide reports on police traffic stops and searches summarize very large populations, making them potentially powerful tools for identifying racial bias, particularly when statistics on search outcomes are included. But when the reported statistics conflate searches involving different levels of police discretion, standard tests for racial bias are not applicable. This article develops a model of police search decisions that allows for nondiscretionary searches and derives tests for racial bias in data that mix different search types. Our tests reject unbiased policing as an explanation of the disparate impact of motor-vehicle searches on minorities in Missouri. Copyright 2004 by the Economics Department Of The University Of Pennsylvania And Osaka University Institute Of Social And Economic Research Association.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association in its journal International Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 45 (2004)
Issue (Month): 3 (08)
Pages: 959-989

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Handle: RePEc:ier:iecrev:v:45:y:2004:i:3:p:959-989

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References

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  1. Bunzel, Helle & Marcoul, Philippe, 2008. "Can racially unbiased police perpetuate long-run discrimination?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 36-47, October.
  2. John Pepper & Brent Kreider, 2001. "Inferring Disability Status from Corrupt Data," Virginia Economics Online Papers 354, University of Virginia, Department of Economics.
  3. Guido Imbens & Charles F. Manski, 2003. "Confidence intervals for partially identified parameters," CeMMAP working papers CWP09/03, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  4. John V. Pepper, 2000. "The Intergenerational Transmission Of Welfare Receipt: A Nonparametric Bounds Analysis," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(3), pages 472-488, August.
  5. Dhammika Dharmapala & Stephen L. Ross, 2003. "Racial Bias in Motor Vehicle Searches: Additional Theory and Evidence," Working papers 2003-12, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics, revised Dec 2003.
  6. repec:att:wimass:9217 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Horowitz, Joel L & Manski, Charles F, 1995. "Identification and Robustness with Contaminated and Corrupted Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(2), pages 281-302, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Nicola Persico & Petra E. Todd, 2005. "Passenger Profiling, Imperfect Screening, and Airport Security," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 127-131, May.
  2. Bunzel, H. & Marcoul, P., 2003. "Can Racially Unbiased Police Perpetuate Long-Run Discrimination?," Discussion Paper 2003-16, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  3. David Bjerk, 2004. "Racial Profiling, Statistical Discrimination, and the Effect of a Colorblind Policy on the Crime Rate," Department of Economics Working Papers 2004-11, McMaster University.
  4. Shamena Anwar & Hanming Fang, 2005. "An Alternative Test of Racial Prejudice in Motor Vehicle Searches: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 11264, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Marco Cozzi, 2010. "Accounting for the Racial Property Crime Gap in the US: A Quantitative Equilibrium Analysis," Working Papers 1233, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  6. Kate L. Antonovics & Brian G. Knight, 2004. "A New Look at Racial Profiling: Evidence from the Boston Police Department," NBER Working Papers 10634, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Hugo Mialon & Sue Mialon, 2008. "The Economics of Search Warrants," Emory Economics 0810, Department of Economics, Emory University (Atlanta).
  8. Brian Williams & Michael Stahl, 2008. "An analysis of police traffic stops and searches in Kentucky: a mixed methods approach offering heuristic and practical implications," Policy Sciences, Springer, vol. 41(3), pages 221-243, September.

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