Weisburst on Pinpointing the Source of Racial Disparities in Policing

Assistant Professor of Public Policy Emily Weisburst co-authored an EconoFact article highlighting racial disparities in policing from an economics research perspective. Protests following the death of George Floyd have brought a new focus to racial disparities in U.S. policing. Economics research has historically sought to understand the role of police officer prejudice or bias in perpetuating the disparities. Newer studies have attempted to evaluate police use-of-force patterns and the effectiveness of reforms such as civilian oversight, de-escalation training and predictive analysis in hiring. Weisburst’s research looks at the extent to which disparity in treatment corresponds to widespread police behavior versus the actions of particular police officers. “Race disparities in policing reflect multiple potential sources of inequities and discrimination,” the authors wrote. They called for more research to pinpoint the source of the disparity and identify the most effective reforms.


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