The Paradox of Misaligned Profiling: Theory and Experimental Evidence

22 Pages Posted: 9 Jun 2014

See all articles by Charles A. Holt

Charles A. Holt

University of Virginia - Department of Economics

Andrew Kydd

University of Wisconsin - Madison

Laura Razzolini

Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) - Department of Finance, Insurance & Real Estate

Roman M. Sheremeta

Case Western Reserve University

Date Written: May 20, 2014

Abstract

This paper implements an experimental test of a game-theoretic model of equilibrium profiling. Attackers choose a demographic “type” from which to recruit, and defenders choose which demographic types to search. Some types are more reliable than others in the sense of having a higher probability of carrying out a successful attack if they get past the security checkpoint. In a Nash equilibrium, defenders tend to profile by searching the more reliable attacker types more frequently, whereas the attackers tend to send less reliable types. Data from laboratory experiments with financially motivated human subjects are consistent with the qualitative patterns predicted by theory. However, we also find several interesting behavioral deviations from the theory.

Keywords: terrorism, profiling, game theory, laboratory experiment

JEL Classification: C72, C91, J16

Suggested Citation

Holt, Charles A. and Kydd, Andrew and Razzolini, Laura and Sheremeta, Roman M., The Paradox of Misaligned Profiling: Theory and Experimental Evidence (May 20, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2447245 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2447245

Charles A. Holt

University of Virginia - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 400182
Rouss Hall #114
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4182
United States
(804) 924-7894 (Phone)

Andrew Kydd

University of Wisconsin - Madison ( email )

716 Langdon Street
Madison, WI 53706-1481
United States

Laura Razzolini (Contact Author)

Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) - Department of Finance, Insurance & Real Estate ( email )

Richmond, VA 23284
United States

Roman M. Sheremeta

Case Western Reserve University ( email )

10900 Euclid Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44106
United States

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