Not So Black and White: Uncovering Racial Bias from Systematically Misreported Trooper Reports

50 Pages Posted: 18 Apr 2019 Last revised: 28 Aug 2022

See all articles by Elizabeth Luh

Elizabeth Luh

University of Houston - Department of Economics; University of Michigan at Ann Arbor

Date Written: July 29, 2022

Abstract

Biased highway troopers may intentionally misreport the race of the stopped motorists in order to evade detection. I develop a new model of traffic stops that highlights the incentive for biased troopers to misreport their failed minority searches as White. Applying my model to the universe of highway searches in Texas from 2010–2015, I find evidence of widespread bias that varies substantially across troopers. When misreporting became more difficult due to public scrutiny, biased troopers faced worse labor outcomes. This suggest an important role for increased
accountability in data collection by law enforcement agents.

Keywords: Discrimination, Cheating, Racial Bias, Troopers, Highway Patrol, Social Norms, Institutions

JEL Classification: J71, K42

Suggested Citation

Luh, Elizabeth, Not So Black and White: Uncovering Racial Bias from Systematically Misreported Trooper Reports (July 29, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3357063 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3357063

Elizabeth Luh (Contact Author)

University of Houston - Department of Economics ( email )

436 Thompson St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
United States

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor ( email )

500 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States

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