Abstract

This paper provides new evidence on racial profiling using information on the race of both motorists and officers. Extending the model of Knowles, Persico, and Todd (2001), we develop a new test for distinguishing between preference-based and statistical discrimination. Our test is based on the notion that if search decisions are driven purely by statistical discrimination, then they should be independent of officer race. Our results, by contrast, demonstrate that officers are more likely to search if officer race and driver race differ. We then investigate and rule out two alternative explanations for our findings.

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