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Testing for Racial Prejudice in the Parole Board Release Process: Theory and Evidence

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  • Shamena Anwar
  • Hanming Fang

Abstract

We develop a model of a Parole Board contemplating whether to grant parole release to a prisoner who has finished serving their minimum sentence. The model implies a simple outcome test for racial prejudice robust to the inframarginality problem. Our test involves running simple regressions of whether a prisoner recidivates on the exposure time to the risk of recidivism and its square, using only the sample of prisoners who are granted parole release strictly between their minimum and maximum sentences and separately by race. If the coefficient estimates on the exposure time term differ by race, then there is evidence of racial prejudice against the racial group with the smaller coefficient estimate. We implement our test for prejudice using data from Pennsylvania from January 1996 to December 31, 2001. Although we find racial differences in time served, we find no evidence for racial prejudice on the part of the Parole Board based on our outcome test.

Suggested Citation

  • Shamena Anwar & Hanming Fang, 2012. "Testing for Racial Prejudice in the Parole Board Release Process: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 18239, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18239
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    Cited by:

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    3. David Arnold & Will Dobbie & Crystal S Yang, 2018. "Racial Bias in Bail Decisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 133(4), pages 1885-1932.
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    6. Brendon McConnell & Kegon Teng Kok Tan & Mariyana Zapryanova, 2023. "How do Parole Boards Respond to Large, Societal Shocks? Evidence from the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks," Working Papers 2023-010, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    7. Jessica LaVoice & Domonkos F. Vamossy, 2019. "Racial Disparities in Debt Collection," Papers 1910.02570, arXiv.org, revised Jun 2023.
    8. Ilic, Dragan, 2013. "Prejudice in Swiss Naturalization Decisions: Theory and Evidence," VfS Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79953, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    9. Ili, Dragan, 2016. "Prejudice in Naturalization Decisions: Theory and Evidence," Working papers 2016/04, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
    10. Ilić, Dragan, 2018. "Prejudice in naturalization decisions: Theory and evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 150(C), pages 1-18.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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