Testing for Racial Discrimination in Police Searches of Motor Vehicles

  title={Testing for Racial Discrimination in Police Searches of Motor Vehicles},
  author={Camelia Simoiu and Sam Corbett-Davies and Sharad Goel},
  journal={arXiv: Applications},
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 bias, but it has proven difficult to rigorously assess claims of discrimination. Here we develop a new statistical method---the threshold test---to test for racial discrimination in motor vehicle searches. We use geographic variation in stop outcomes to infer the effective race-specific standards of… 
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