Statistical Tests of Discrimination in Punishment

Journal of Quantitative Criminology, Vol. 1, No. 2, 1985

28 Pages Posted: 11 Dec 2013

See all articles by Samuel Myers

Samuel Myers

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs

Date Written: 1985

Abstract

A method, adopted from the labor econometrics literature, is proposed for detecting discrimination in punishment. The method requires the separate estimation of time served and punishment probability equations for, say, whites and blacks. The coefficients from the white equation are used to predict the punishment blacks would receive if treated like whites. A test of no discrimination against blacks is a test that the black punishment predicted by the black equation is equal to the punishment predicted by the equation using the white coefficients but the black "endowments" or characteristics. A further test is proposed that evaluates the economic "efficiency" of disparities in punishment. The test is restricted to measuring the recidivism effect of equality of treatment in punishment. The discrimination test and the efficiency test are illustrated using the U,S. Board of Parole data for 1972. Statistically significant racial disparities in punishment are uncovered and are found to be economically inefficient.

Keywords: racial discrimination, punishment disparities, residual discrimination

Suggested Citation

Myers, Samuel, Statistical Tests of Discrimination in Punishment (1985). Journal of Quantitative Criminology, Vol. 1, No. 2, 1985. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2365395

Samuel Myers (Contact Author)

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities - Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs ( email )

301 19th Ave S
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States

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