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

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  • Jeff Dominitz
  • John Knowles

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeff Dominitz & John Knowles, 2006. "Crime minimisation and racial bias: what can we learn from police search data?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(515), pages 368-384, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:116:y:2006:i:515:p:f368-f384
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. John Knowles & Nicola Persico & Petra Todd, 2001. "Racial Bias in Motor Vehicle Searches: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(1), pages 203-232, February.
    4. Charles F. Manski, 2006. "Search Profiling With Partial Knowledge of Deterrence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(515), pages 385-401, November.
    5. Nicola Persico, 2002. "Racial Profiling, Fairness, and Effectiveness of Policing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1472-1497, December.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Sarath Sanga, 2009. "Reconsidering Racial Bias in Motor Vehicle Searches: Theory and Evidence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(6), pages 1155-1159, December.
    2. Hugo Mialon & Sue Mialon, 2008. "The Economics of Search Warrants," Emory Economics 0810, Department of Economics, Emory University (Atlanta).
    3. 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.
    4. Brady P. Horn & Jill J. Mccluskey & Ron C. Mittelhammer, 2014. "Quantifying Bias In Driving-Under-The-Influence Enforcement," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 52(1), pages 269-284, January.
    5. Trevor G. Gardner, 2014. "Racial Profiling as Collective Definition," Social Inclusion, Cogitatio Press, vol. 2(3), pages 052-059.
    6. Marco Castillo & Ragan Petrie, 2007. "Discrimination in the Warplace: Evidence from a Civil War in Peru," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series 2007-10, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    7. Minzner Max & Anderson Christopher M., 2013. "Do Warrants Matter?," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 9(2), pages 169-196, September.
    8. repec:kap:atlecj:v:45:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s11293-017-9538-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Blumkin, Tomer & Margalioth, Yoram, 2008. "On terror, drugs and racial profiling," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 194-203, September.
    10. 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.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination

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