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Crime Minimization and Racial Bias: What Can We Learn From Police Search Data?

  • Jeff Dominitz

    ()

    (Heinz School, Carnegie Mellon University)

  • John Knowles

    ()

    (Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania)

Are variations in the success rate of searches by race informative about racial bias if police are motivated by crime minimization rather than success-rate maximization? We show that the basic idea of extracting information from hit rates may still be valid, provided one can verify some simple restrictions on the joint distribution of criminality by race. We also extend these results to the case where the police minimize the rate of unpunished crime.

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File URL: http://economics.sas.upenn.edu/system/files/working-papers/05-019.pdf
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Paper provided by Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania in its series PIER Working Paper Archive with number 05-019.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: 18 Feb 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pen:papers:05-019
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  1. Shamena Anwar & Hanming Fang, 2006. "An Alternative Test of Racial Prejudice in Motor Vehicle Searches: Theory and Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(1), pages 127-151, March.
  2. John Knowles & Nicola Persico & Petra Todd, . "Racial Bias in Motor Vehicle Searches: Theory and Evidence," Penn CARESS Working Papers 5940d5c4875c571776fb29700, Penn Economics Department.
  3. Charles F. Manski, 2006. "Search Profiling With Partial Knowledge of Deterrence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(515), pages F385-F401, November.
  4. Kate L. Antonovics & Brian G. Knight, 2004. "A New Look at Racial Profiling: Evidence from the Boston Police Department," NBER Working Papers 10634, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Nicola Persico, 2002. "Racial Profiling, Fairness, and Effectiveness of Policing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1472-1497, December.
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