The College of Liberal Arts
Gosnell Lecture Series
Director, Center for Entrepreneurship & Business Innovation
Associate Professor, Department of Economics
Kent State University
Monday, April 10
Time: 3:00 – 4:00 pm
Place: Gleason Hall
Xerox Auditorium, Room 2580
Police Officer Learning, Mentoring and Bias in Traffic Stops
The preeminent approach to testing whether officers are racially biased in their decisions to frisk or search minorities is by Knowles, Persico and Todd (2001). We extend Knowles, Persico and Todd (2001) by first nesting the racial bias test of into a logit model to allow for police bias testing that conditions on officer experience and other covariates. We then incorporate experience into the model to determine if differences in arrest rates of a police force are due to statistical discrimination by the inexperienced officers or racial prejudice within the police force that persists in experienced officers. Using data from the City of Syracuse, New York from 2006-2009, we find that rookie police officers (those with less than three years of experience) are more likely to be biased against black drivers. That is, less experienced police are more likely to search innocent black drivers than innocent non-black drivers. However, with more experience this bias goes away suggesting rookie officers use statistical discrimination when they are inexperienced but do not exhibit racial bias with more experience.
Interpreters provided upon request subject to availability.
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