Racial profiling, fairness, and effectiveness of policing

Nicola Persico*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Citizens of two groups may engage in crime, depending on their legal earning opportunities and on the probability of being audited. Police audit citizens. Police behavior is fair if both groups are policed with the same intensity. We provide exact conditions under which forcing the police to behave more fairly reduces the total amount of crime. These conditions are expressed as constraints on the quantile-quantile plot of the distributions of legal earning opportunities in the two groups. We also investigate the definition of fairness when the cost of being searched reflects the stigma of being singled out by police.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1472-1497
Number of pages26
JournalAmerican Economic Review
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics


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