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Racial Bias in Motor Vehicle Searches: Additional Theory and Evidence

  • Dharmapala Dhammika

    ()

    (University of Connecticut)

  • Ross Stephen L

    ()

    (University of Connecticut)

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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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. John Knowles & Nicola Persico & Petra Todd, . "Racial Bias in Motor Vehicle Searches: Theory and Evidence," Penn CARESS Working Papers 5940d5c4875c571776fb29700, Penn Economics Department.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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, June.
  8. 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.
  9. Nicola Persico, 2002. "Racial Profiling, Fairness, and Effectiveness of Policing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1472-1497, December.
  10. 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.
  11. Paul Calem & Michael Stutzer, 1995. "The simple analytics of observed discrimination in credit markets," Working Papers 95-7, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
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