The Racial Profiling Act: How Does it Work?

37 Pages Posted: 20 Jan 2012

Date Written: January 20, 2012


This study examines how the racial profiling law influences police officers' behavior in the field. A ubiquitous component of the law across jurisdictions in the U.S. is to mandate the collection of data on traffic stops and evaluate local agencies based on the data. Using the Illinois traffic stop data from 2004 to 2007, we find that officers in agencies that received unfavorable evaluations in the previous official report tend to stop fewer vehicles, particularly, those of minority drivers, and are more responsive to their unfavorable evaluations when the nearest neighbor agency received some favorable evaluations. However, we argue that this behavioral change does not necessarily mean a reduction of racially-biased law enforcement actions.

Keywords: Racial Profiling, Traffic Law Enforcement, Performance Evaluation

JEL Classification: K42, D73

Suggested Citation

Lee, Jungmin, The Racial Profiling Act: How Does it Work? (January 20, 2012). Available at SSRN: or

Jungmin Lee (Contact Author)

Seoul National University ( email )

Seoul, 151-742
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

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