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Crime minimisation and racial bias: what can we learn from police search data?

  • Jeff Dominitz
  • John Knowles

Is variation by motorist race in the success rate of searches informative about racial bias if police are motivated by crime minimisation rather than success-rate maximisation? We show that the basic idea of extracting information from 'hit rates' may still be valid, provided one can verify some simple restrictions on the joint distribution of criminality by race. We also extend these results to the case where the police minimise the rate of unpunished crime. Copyright 2006 The Author(s). Journal compilation Royal Economic Society 2006.

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File URL: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1468-0297.2006.01127.x
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Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 116 (2006)
Issue (Month): 515 (November)
Pages: F368-F384

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Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:116:y:2006:i:515:p:f368-f384
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  1. Nicola Persico, 2002. "Racial Profiling, Fairness, and Effectiveness of Policing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1472-1497, December.
  2. John Knowles & Nicola Persico & Petra Todd, . "Racial Bias in Motor Vehicle Searches: Theory and Evidence," Penn CARESS Working Papers 5940d5c4875c571776fb29700, Penn Economics Department.
  3. Charles F. Manski, 2005. "Search Profiling with Partial Knowledge of Deterrence," NBER Working Papers 11848, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  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. 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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