Who gets caught? Statistical discrimination in law enforcement
Some people are more likely to be convicted of a crime than others. In this paper we explain why group characteristics, such as race or age, might influence individual probabilities of conviction. Our model is motivated by the simple observation that it is prohibitively costly to investigate every crime. Police and other enforcement agencies may rationally use "statistical discrimination" to minimize search costs. We test the model on a sample of Montreal youth, using information on self-reported juvenile delinquency to see if, controlling for the level of delinquent behavior, individuals’ characteristics have an independent effect on the probability of making a court appearance. We find that characteristics do indeed influence the probability of appearing in court, while a number of forms of delinquent activity have no or even negative impacts in court appearances.
|Date of creation:||01 Jan 2002|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||Published: Carleton Economic Papers|
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