Walking While Black: Racial Gaps in Hit-and-Run Cases
56 Pages Posted: 27 Aug 2020 Last revised: 9 Apr 2021
Date Written: July 22, 2020
Is there a racial gap in the treatment of crime victims, and when does it first occur? We provide a causal test for racial gaps in victimization and clearance rates, using the unintentional nature of vehicle-pedestrian crashes: the victim’s race should not depend on the driver’s characteristics, conditional on location and time. We find that American drivers flee 13% more often if they hit a Black pedestrian, and clearance rates of hit-and-run cases are 11% lower for Black victims. The evidence points to both statistical discrimination and out-group bias as mechanisms behind the racial gap in hit-and-run rates.
Keywords: racial gaps, racial discrimination, victimization, hit-and-run
JEL Classification: J15, K40, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation