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Diversity and Forensics: Diversity in Hiring is Not Enough


  • Roger Koppl

    (Fairleigh Dickinson University)


The current organization of forensic work may induce biases in forensic analysis (Risinger et al. 2002). Such biases may have a differential impact across groups, creating differential bias. We should reorganize forensic work to reduce differential bias. The obvious strategy of hiring ethnically diverse forensic workers will not work. “Us vs. Them” thinking is an important source of differential bias. The definition of “Us” and “Them” is socially conditioned. The current organization of forensic work induces forensic workers to see the police as “Us” and suspects of any ethnicity as “Them.” Thus, differential biases in arrests become differential biases in forensic analysis. I argue that my prior proposal for “competitive self regulation” (Koppl 2005) would reduce or eliminate differential bias. Competitive self regulation divides forensic work among several, unrelated parties, and hides extraneous, bias-inducing information from forensic analysts. These measures separate forensic workers from the police, reduce their sense of identification with the police, and hide from them the knowledge of what result the police are looking for. My argument builds on a literature on biases, Us vs. Them thinking, and the role of “coalitional alliances” (Kurzban, Cosmides, and Tooby 2001) in bias formation.

Suggested Citation

  • Roger Koppl, 2005. "Diversity and Forensics: Diversity in Hiring is Not Enough," Labor and Demography 0510003, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpla:0510003
    Note: Type of Document - doc; pages: 21

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    Cited by:

    1. Everard Cowan & Roger Koppl, 2011. "An experimental study of blind proficiency tests in forensic science," The Review of Austrian Economics, Springer;Society for the Development of Austrian Economics, vol. 24(3), pages 251-271, September.
    2. Roger G. Koppl, 2006. "The Science Game: An Experiment on Reducing errors in Forensic Science and Other Areas," Papers on Economics and Evolution 2006-09, Philipps University Marburg, Department of Geography.

    More about this item


    diversity; forensics; bias; evolutionary psychology;

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • K0 - Law and Economics - - General

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