This paper explores racial diﬀerences in police use of force. On non-lethal uses of force, blacks and Hispanics are more than ﬁfty percent more likely to experience some form of force in interactions with police. Adding controls that account for important context and civilian behavior reduces, but cannot fully explain, these disparities. On the most extreme use of force –oﬃcer-involved shootings – we ﬁnd no racial diﬀerences in either the raw data or when contextual factors are taken into account. We argue that the patterns in the data are consistent with a model in which police oﬃcers are utility maximizers, a fraction of which have a preference for discrimination, who incur relatively high expected costs of oﬃcer-involved shootings.
Last updated on 01/09/2018