Racial Bias in Motor Vehicle Searches: Theory and Evidence

@article{Knowles2001RacialBI,
  title={Racial Bias in Motor Vehicle Searches: Theory and Evidence},
  author={John Knowles and Nicola G. Persico and Petra E. Todd},
  journal={Journal of Political Economy},
  year={2001},
  volume={109},
  pages={203 - 229}
}
Police checking for illegal drugs are much more likely to search the vehicles of African‐American motorists than those of white motorists. This paper develops a model of police and motorist behavior that suggests an empirical test for distinguishing whether this disparity is due to racial prejudice or to the police’s objective to maximize arrests. When applied to vehicle search data from Maryland, our test results are consistent with the hypothesis of no racial prejudice against African… 
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This article considers the use of outcomes-based tests for detecting racial bias in the context of police searches of motor vehicles. We characterise the police and motorist decision problems in a
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Knowles, Persico, and Todd (2001) develop a model of police search and offender behavior. Their model implies that if police are unprejudiced the rate of guilt should not vary across groups. Using
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During traffic stops, police search black and Hispanic motorists more often than white motorists, yet those searches are equally or less likely to yield contraband. We ask whether equalizing search
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Knowles, Persico, and Todd (2001) present a model of police and motorist behavior in the context of vehicle searches and test it using data from Maryland. Their work marked a resurgence in interest
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Biased policing against racial and ethnic minorities is an important public policy issue. Theoretical analysis and empirical results on this issue has been plagued by an assortment of problems which
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In the course of conducting traffic stops, officers have discretion to search motorists for drugs, weapons, and other contraband. There is concern that these search decisions are prone to racial
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