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Racial Bias in Traffic Stops: Tests of a Unified Model of Stops and Searches

  • Ritter, Joseph A.

This paper develops a model of traffic stops and subsequent searches in which police officers use information about the race of drivers to maximize a well defined objective. The model provides a behavioral foundation absent from Grogger and Ridgeway’s (2006) elegantly simple test and, by incorporating searches, adds two complementary tests. Using data collected during 2002 by the Minneapolis Police Department, the tests rule out (1) statistical discrimination, (2) taste-based discrimination by optimizing police officers, and (3) statistical discrimination with cognitive limitations. The pattern of results is consistent with implicit discrimination.

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File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/152496
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Paper provided by University of Minnesota, Department of Applied Economics in its series Miscellaneous Publications with number 152496.

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Date of creation: Jun 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ags:umaemp:152496
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  1. 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.
  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. 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.
  4. Jeffrey Grogger & Greg Ridgeway, 2005. "Testing for Racial Profiling in Traffic Stops from Behind a Veil of Darkness," Working Papers 0507, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
  5. Close Billy R & Mason Patrick L, 2006. "After the Traffic Stops: Officer Characteristics and Enforcement Actions," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 6(1), pages 1-43, December.
  6. Marianne Bertrand & Dolly Chugh & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2005. "Implicit Discrimination," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(2), pages 94-98, May.
  7. Samuel L. Myers, 2002. "Analysis of racial profiling as policy analysis," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(2), pages 287-300.
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