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

  • Jack Glaser

    (University of California, Berkeley)

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    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

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    Article provided by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. in its journal Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.

    Volume (Year): 25 (2006)
    Issue (Month): 2 ()
    Pages: 395-416

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    Handle: RePEc:wly:jpamgt:v:25:y:2006:i:2:p:395-416
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    1. Steven D. Levitt, 1995. "Why Do Increased Arrest Rates Appear to Reduce Crime: Deterrence, Incapacitation, or Measurement Error?," NBER Working Papers 5268, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    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. 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.
    4. Kate L. Antonovics & Brian G. Knight, 2004. "A New Look at Racial Profiling: Evidence from the Boston Police Department," NBER Working Papers 10634, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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