In-Group Bias and the Police: Evidence from Award Nominations

51 Pages Posted: 15 Jan 2020

See all articles by Nayoung Rim

Nayoung Rim

United States Naval Academy - Department of Economics; University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy

Roman Rivera

Columbia University

Bocar A. Ba

University of Pennsylvania

Date Written: October 13, 2019

Abstract

This paper examines the impact of in-group bias on the internal dynamics of a police department. Prior studies have documented racial bias in policing, but little is known about bias against officers due to lack of available data. We construct a novel panel dataset of Chicago Police Department officers, with detailed information on officer characteristics and work productivity. Exploiting quasi-random variation in supervisor assignment, we find that white supervisors are less likely to nominate black officers than white or Hispanic officers. We find weaker evidence that male supervisors are less likely to nominate female officers than male officers. We explore several theories of discrimination that can explain our main findings. Requiring interaction between supervisors and officers reduces the minority nomination gap, but white supervisors still exhibit in-group favoritism. Our findings suggest departments should focus on policies that address in-group bias due to its effect on career advancement.

Keywords: bias, police officers, award nominations, supervisors, police administrative data, demographic diversity, organization effect, police department internal dynamics, law and economics, empirical analysis

JEL Classification: J71, J15, J48

Suggested Citation

Rim, Nayoung and Rivera, Roman and Ba, Bocar A., In-Group Bias and the Police: Evidence from Award Nominations (October 13, 2019). U of Penn, Inst for Law & Econ Research Paper No. 20-02, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3519336 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3519336

Nayoung Rim

United States Naval Academy - Department of Economics ( email )

589 McNair Road
Annapolis, MD 21402
United States

University of Chicago - Harris School of Public Policy ( email )

1155 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Roman Rivera

Columbia University ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

Bocar A. Ba (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

3501 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

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