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Racial Bias in Traffic Stops: Tests of a Unified Model of Stops and Searches

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  • Ritter, Joseph A.
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    Abstract

    This paper develops a model of traffic stops and subsequent searches in which police officers use information about the race of drivers to maximize a well defined objective. The model provides a behavioral foundation absent from Grogger and Ridgeway’s (2006) elegantly simple test and, by incorporating searches, adds two complementary tests. Using data collected during 2002 by the Minneapolis Police Department, the tests rule out (1) statistical discrimination, (2) taste-based discrimination by optimizing police officers, and (3) statistical discrimination with cognitive limitations. The pattern of results is consistent with implicit discrimination.

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    File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/152496
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by University of Minnesota, Department of Applied Economics in its series Miscellaneous Publications with number 152496.

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    Date of creation: Jun 2013
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    Handle: RePEc:ags:umaemp:152496

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    Related research

    Keywords: Institutional and Behavioral Economics; Public Economics;

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

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    1. Shamena Anwar & Hanming Fang, 2006. "An Alternative Test of Racial Prejudice in Motor Vehicle Searches: Theory and Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 127-151, March.
    2. 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.
    3. Grogger, Jeffrey & Ridgeway, Greg, 2006. "Testing for Racial Profiling in Traffic Stops From Behind a Veil of Darkness," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 101, pages 878-887, September.
    4. Samuel L. Myers, 2002. "Analysis of racial profiling as policy analysis," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(2), pages 287-300.
    5. Close Billy R & Mason Patrick L, 2006. "After the Traffic Stops: Officer Characteristics and Enforcement Actions," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 6(1), pages 1-43, December.
    6. Marianne Bertrand & Dolly Chugh & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2005. "Implicit Discrimination," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 94-98, May.
    7. 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.
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