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Profiling, Screening and Criminal Recruitment

Author

Listed:
  • Christopher Cotton

    (Department of Economics, University of Miami)

  • Cheng Li

    (Department of Economics, University of Miami)

Abstract

We model major criminal activity as a game in which a law enforcement officer chooses the rate at which to screen different population groups and a criminal organization (e.g., drug cartel, terrorist cell) chooses the observable characteristics of its recruits. Our model best describes smuggling or terrorism activities at borders, airports and other security checkpoints. When the social costs of crime are high, law enforcement is most-effective when it is unconstrained in its ability to profile, that is its ability to screen different population groups with different probabilities. For more-moderate costs, the most-effective law enforcement policy imposes only moderate restrictions on the officer's ability to profile. In contrast to models of decentralized crime, eliminating profiling by law enforcement is never optimal.

Suggested Citation

  • Christopher Cotton & Cheng Li, 2012. "Profiling, Screening and Criminal Recruitment," Working Papers 2013-02, University of Miami, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:mia:wpaper:2013-02
    as

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    File URL: http://bus.miami.edu/_assets/files/repec/WP2013-02.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2012
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    3. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters,in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    5. 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.
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    7. Nicola Persico & Petra Todd, 2006. "Generalising the Hit Rates Test for Racial Bias in Law Enforcement, With an Application to Vehicle Searches in Wichita," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(515), pages 351-367, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bjørnskov, Christian, 2015. "Does economic freedom really kill? On the association between ‘Neoliberal’ policies and homicide rates," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 207-219.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Racial profiling; law enforcement; national security; smuggling; terrorism; crime;

    JEL classification:

    • D02 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Institutions: Design, Formation, Operations, and Impact
    • H56 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - National Security and War
    • J78 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Public Policy (including comparable worth)
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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