CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Friday, June 26, 2020

Goncalves & Mello on Racial Bias in Policing

Felipe Goncalves and Steven Mello (University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Economics and Dartmouth College) have posted A Few Bad Apples? Racial Bias in Policing on SSRN. Here is the abstract:
We estimate the degree to which individual police officers practice racial discrimination. Using a bunching estimation design and data from the Florida Highway Patrol, we show that minorities are less likely to receive a discount on their speeding tickets than white drivers. Disaggregating this difference to the individual police officer, we find that 40% of officers explain all of the aggregate discrimination. We then apply our officer- level discrimination measures to various policy-relevant questions in the literature. In particular, reassigning officers across locations based on their lenience can effectively reduce the aggregate disparity in treatment.

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