Racial Profiling, Statistical Discrimination, and the Effect of a Colorblind Policy on the Crime Rate
Using a model similar to labor market models of statistical discrimination, I de- scribe how and why racial profiling can arise even when law enforcement officers are racially unbiased. Specifically, if one racial group has a higher fraction of individuals who are at risk of committing the relevant type of crime than another, and if law enforcement officers can observe a noisy signal of guilt in addition to an individual's race, then it will be optimal for officers to treat observationally equivalent individu- als of different races differently. Moreover, this model can be used to show how the effect of a racially colorblind policy on the overall crime rate for a particular type of crime will depend on the racial make-up of the relevant jurisdiction, the relative proportions of each racial group that are at risk of choosing to commit that crime, the proportion of the relevant population that officers can observe, the magnitude of the punishment for that particular type of crime, and distribution of the benefits to committing that particular crime. The implications coming from this analysis are then applied and analyzed with respect to two specific contexts--highway patrol vehicle searches for drugs or weapons, and border patrol investigations of foreign entrants for terrorist connections.
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- 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.
- John Knowles & Nicola Persico & Petra Todd, "undated". "Racial Bias in Motor Vehicle Searches: Theory and Evidence," Penn CARESS Working Papers 5940d5c4875c571776fb29700, Penn Economics Department.
- John Knowles & Nicola Persico & Petra Todd, 1999. "Racial Bias in Motor Vehicle Searches: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7449, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- John Knowles & Nicola Persico & Petra Todd, "undated". ""Racial Bias in Motor Vehicle Searches: Theory and Evidence''," CARESS Working Papres 99-06, University of Pennsylvania Center for Analytic Research and Economics in the Social Sciences.
- Rubén Hernández-Murillo & John Knowles, 2004.
"Racial Profiling Or Racist Policing? Bounds Tests In Aggregate Data,"
International Economic Review,
Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(3), pages 959-989, August.
- Rubén Hernández-Murillo & John Knowles, 2004. "Racial profiling or racist policing? bounds tests in aggregate data," Working Papers 2004-012, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
- Kenneth Arrow, 1971. "The Theory of Discrimination," Working Papers 403, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
- Lundberg, Shelly J & Startz, Richard, 1983. "Private Discrimination and Social Intervention in Competitive Labor Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(3), pages 340-347, June.
- Richard Startz & Lundberg, "undated". "Private Discrimination and Social Intervention in Competitive Labor Markets," Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research Working Papers 19-81, Wharton School Rodney L. White Center for Financial Research.
- Cornell, Bradford & Welch, Ivo, 1996. "Culture, Information, and Screening Discrimination," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(3), pages 542-571, June.
- Farmer, Amy & Terrell, Dek, 2001. "Crime versus Justice: Is There a Trade-Off?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44(2), pages 345-366, October.
- Coate, Stephen & Loury, Glenn C, 1993. "Will Affirmative-Action Policies Eliminate Negative Stereotypes?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1220-1240, December.Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)
- Coate, S. & Loury, G.C., 1992. "Will Affirmative Action Policies Eliminate Negative Stereotypes?," Papers 3, Boston University - Department of Economics.
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