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Gender bias in power relationships: evidence from police traffic stops

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Listed:
  • Garrick Blalock
  • Jed DeVaro
  • Stephanie Leventhal
  • Daniel Simon

Abstract

We test for the existence of gender bias in power relationships. Specifically, we examine whether police officers are less likely to issue traffic tickets to men or to women during traffic stops. Whereas the conventional wisdom, which we document with surveys, is that women are less likely to receive tickets, our analysis shows otherwise. Examination of a pooled sample of traffic stops from five locations reveals no gender bias, but does show significant regional variation in the likelihood of citations. Analysis by location shows that women are more likely to receive citations in three of the five locations. Men are more likely to receive citations in the other two locations. To our knowledge, this study is the first to test for gender bias in traffic stops, and clearly refutes the conventional wisdom that police are more lenient towards women.

Suggested Citation

  • Garrick Blalock & Jed DeVaro & Stephanie Leventhal & Daniel Simon, 2011. "Gender bias in power relationships: evidence from police traffic stops," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(29), pages 4469-4485.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:43:y:2011:i:29:p:4469-4485
    DOI: 10.1080/00036846.2010.491467
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    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. Nicola Persico & Petra Todd, 2004. "Using Hit Rate Tests to Test for Racial Bias in Law Enforcement: Vehicle Searches in Wichita," NBER Working Papers 10947, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sarah Marx Quintanar, 2009. "Man vs. Machine: An Investigation of Speeding Ticket Disparities Based on Gender and Race," Departmental Working Papers 2009-16, Department of Economics, Louisiana State University.

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