Crime Minimization and Racial Bias: What Can We Learn from Police Search Data?

43 Pages Posted: 6 May 2005

See all articles by Jeff Dominitz

Jeff Dominitz

Carnegie Mellon University - H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management; RAND Corporation

John Knowles

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: February 18, 2005

Abstract

Are variations in the success rate of searches by race informative about racial bias if police are motivated by crime minimization rather than success-rate maximization? We show that the basic idea of extracting information from hit rates may still be valid, provided one can verify some simple restrictions on the joint distribution of criminality by race. We also extend these results to the case where the police minimize the rate of unpunished crime.

JEL Classification: K42, J15

Suggested Citation

Dominitz, Jeff and Knowles, John, Crime Minimization and Racial Bias: What Can We Learn from Police Search Data? (February 18, 2005). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=719981 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.719981

Jeff Dominitz

Carnegie Mellon University - H. John Heinz III School of Public Policy and Management ( email )

Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890
United States

RAND Corporation ( email )

1776 Main Street
P.O. Box 2138
Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138
United States

John Knowles (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics ( email )

Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science
133 South 36th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6297
United States
215-898-7701 (Phone)
215-573-2057 (Fax)

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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