Jonathan Mummolo (Princeton University)
Administrative Records Mask Racially Biased Policing
You can learn more about Professor Mummolo here.
Where and When: Friday, January 15, 2021 at 3:00pm on Zoom.
Zoom meeting: https://umontreal.zoom.us/j/94943118280?pwd=aCtZWGRjaktrN0NsRDFRS3YrNW9vUT09
Meeting ID: 949 4311 8280
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Abstract: Researchers often lack the necessary data to credibly estimate racial discrimination in policing. In particular, police administrative records lack information on civilians police observe but do not investigate. In this article, we show that if police racially discriminate when choosing whom to investigate, analyses using administrative records to estimate racial discrimination in police behavior are statistically biased, and many quantities of interest are unidentified—even among investigated individuals—absent strong and untestable assumptions. Using principal stratification in a causal mediation framework, we derive the exact form of the statistical bias that results from traditional estimation. We develop a bias-correction procedure and nonparametric sharp bounds for race effects, replicate published findings, and show the traditional estimator can severely underestimate levels of racially biased policing or mask discrimination entirely. We conclude by outlining a general and feasible design for future studies that is robust to this inferential snare.
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This series is sponsored by the Centre for the Study of Democratic Citizenship, which is funded by the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Société et culture (FRQSC).