A Few Bad Apples? Racial Bias in Policing
107 Pages Posted: 17 Jun 2020
Date Written: June 15, 2020
We estimate the degree to which individual police officers practice racial discrimination. Using a bunching estimation design and data from the Florida Highway Patrol, we show that minorities are less likely to receive a discount on their speeding tickets than white drivers. Disaggregating this difference to the individual police officer, we find that 40% of officers explain all of the aggregate discrimination. We then apply our officer- level discrimination measures to various policy-relevant questions in the literature. In particular, reassigning officers across locations based on their lenience can effectively reduce the aggregate disparity in treatment.
Keywords: Discrimination, Racial Bias, Police, Traffic Enforcement
JEL Classification: J15, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation