Assessing Racial Profiling

25 Pages Posted: 22 Nov 2006

See all articles by Steven N. Durlauf

Steven N. Durlauf

University of Chicago; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Abstract

In this article I consider the evaluation of racial profiling in traffic stops from a combination of welfarist and non-welfarist considerations. I argue that benefits from profiling in terms of crime reduction have not been identified and that further, the harm to those who are innocent and stopped is potentially high. I then argue that profiling creates a clear injustice to innocent African Americans. Together, these claims make the assessment of profiling an example of decision making under ambiguity. I resolve the ambiguity with a Fairness Presumption which leads me to reject profiling in traffic stops as a public policy.

Suggested Citation

Durlauf, Steven N., Assessing Racial Profiling. Economic Journal, Vol. 116, No. 515, pp. F402-F426, November 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=946517 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0297.2006.01129.x

Steven N. Durlauf (Contact Author)

University of Chicago ( email )

1155 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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