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The efficacy and effect of racial profiling: A mathematical simulation approach

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  • Jack Glaser

    (University of California, Berkeley)

Abstract

Racial profiling-the use of race, ethnicity, or national origin by law enforcement officials to make judgments of criminal suspicion-is assessed in terms of its effect on targeted populations and on law enforcement efficiency. A mathematical simulation, comparing multiple profiling and non-profiling scenarios, is employed. This analysis indicates that racial profiling exacerbates incarceration disparities between groups whether or not the groups differ in criminality rates, and that the long-term effects of profiling in terms of criminal captures depend on the calibration of profiling rates to criminality rates. The highest long-term criminal capture rates appear to occur when stop rate ratios match, or are slightly below, criminality rate ratios between groups. When the possibility of a deterrent effect is modeled, profiling appears to yield fewer criminal captures and have little or no crime reduction effect, and may even increase overall crime rates. © 2006 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management

Suggested Citation

  • Jack Glaser, 2006. "The efficacy and effect of racial profiling: A mathematical simulation approach," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(2), pages 395-416.
  • Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:25:y:2006:i:2:p:395-416
    DOI: 10.1002/pam.20178
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1002/pam.20178
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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. Dharmapala Dhammika & Ross Stephen L, 2004. "Racial Bias in Motor Vehicle Searches: Additional Theory and Evidence," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 3(1), pages 1-23, September.
    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. Levitt, Steven D, 1998. "Why Do Increased Arrest Rates Appear to Reduce Crime: Deterrence, Incapacitation, or Measurement Error?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 36(3), pages 353-372, July.
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