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Group Profiling for Alcohol Impaired Motorists with Driving Skills Disparities: Should we Care for Fairness?

  • Sergio Parra Cely


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    A game theory model with incomplete and imperfect information is proposed here to understandthe decision faced by motorists, from two identifiable groups, to drive under the influenceof alcohol. In order to assess the best implementable policy, the rational decision from a trafficpolice force to engage in a group profiling policy strategy is described. We also suggest aperfect bayesian equilibrium solution, provinding conditions of existence and uniqueness. Thepredictions from this model suggest that, if there exist disparities in the driving skills for bothgroups when motorists are impaired by alcohol, traffic police officers should stop and administratea breath alcohol test to a higher proportion of motorists from the group with the largestviolation rate. Therefore, we suggest that group profiling through a statistical discriminationprocedure is feasible. However, if there is no statistical evidence to support such disparity, onlya fair policy -that is, to stop and test motorists from both groups with the same intensity- isimplementable. In this latter case, we suggest that a biased behavior in policing is explainedby prejudice or taste-based discrimination.

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    Paper provided by UNIVERSIDAD JAVERIANA - BOGOTÁ in its series VNIVERSITAS ECONÓMICA with number 010089.

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    Length: 16
    Date of creation: 29 Sep 2011
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:col:000416:010089
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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. 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.
    3. Steven D. Levitt & Jack Porter, 2001. "How Dangerous Are Drinking Drivers?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(6), pages 1198-1237, December.
    4. Phelps, Edmund S, 1972. "The Statistical Theory of Racism and Sexism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(4), pages 659-61, September.
    5. David Bjerk, 2004. "Racial Profiling, Statistical Discrimination, and the Effect of a Colorblind Policy on the Crime Rate," Department of Economics Working Papers 2004-11, McMaster University.
    6. Bruce Benson & Brent Mast & David Rasmussen, 2000. "Can police deter drunk driving?," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(3), pages 357-366.
    7. Kenkel, Donald S, 1993. "Drinking, Driving, and Deterrence: The Effectiveness and Social Costs of Alternative Policies," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(2), pages 877-913, October.
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