Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-7ccbd9845f-2c279 Total loading time: 0.724 Render date: 2023-01-28T08:16:25.578Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true

Race, Place, and Context: The Persistence of Race Effects in Traffic Stop Outcomes in the Face of Situational, Demographic, and Political Controls

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 August 2020

Kelsey Shoub*
Affiliation:
University of South Carolina
Derek A. Epp
Affiliation:
University of Texas
Frank R. Baumgartner
Affiliation:
University of North Carolina
Leah Christiani
Affiliation:
University of Tennessee
Kevin Roach
Affiliation:
University of North Carolina
*
Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Kelsey Shoub, University of South Carolina, Columbia. E-mail: KSHOUB@mailbox.sc.edu
Get access

Abstract

Evidence that racial minorities are targeted for searches during police traffic stops is widespread, but observed differences in outcomes following a traffic stop between white drivers and people of color could potentially be due to factors correlated with driver race. Using a unique dataset recording over 5 million traffic stops from 90 municipal police departments, we control for and evaluate alternative explanations for why a driver may be searched. These include: (1) the context of the stop itself, (2) the characteristics of the police department including the race of the police chief, and (3) demographic and racial composition of the municipality within which the stop occurs. We find that the driver's race remains a robust predictor: black male drivers are consistently subjected to more intensive police scrutiny than white drivers. Additionally, we find that all drivers are less likely to be subject to highly discretionary searches if the police chief is black. Together, these findings indicate that race matters in multiple and varied ways for policing outcomes.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Race, Ethnicity, and Politics Section of the American Political Science Association 2020

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

REFERENCES

Alexander, Michelle. 2010. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. New York: New Press.Google Scholar
Ash, Elliot, Fagan, Jeffrey, and Harris, Allison. forthcoming. “Local Public Finance and Discriminatory Policing: Evidence from Traffic Stops in Missouri.” Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Politics.Google Scholar
Banks, R. Richard. 2003. “Beyond Profiling: Race, Policing, and the Drug War.” Stanford Law Review 56: 571603.Google Scholar
Banks, R. Richard, Eberhardt, Jennifer L., and Ross, Lee. 2006. “Discrimination and Implicit Bias in a Racially Unequal Society.” California Law Review 94: 1169–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Baumgartner, Frank R., Christiani, Leah, Epp, Derek A., Roach, Kevin, and Shoub, Kelsey. 2017. “Racial Disparities in Traffic Stop Outcomes.Duke Forum for Law and Social Change 9: 2153.Google Scholar
Baumgartner, Frank R., Epp, Derek A., and Shoub, Kelsey. 2018. Suspect Citizens: What 20 Million Traffic Stops Tell Us About Policing And Race. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Baumgartner, Frank R, Bell, Kate, Beyer, Luke, Boldrin, Tara, Doyle, Libby, Govan, Lindsey, Halpert, Jack, Hicks, Jackson, Kyriadoudes, Katherine, Lee, Cat, Leger, Mackenzie, McAdon, Sarah, Michalak, Sarah, Murphy, Caroline, Neal, Eyan, O'Malley, Olivia, Payne, Emily, Spirstein, Audrey, Stanley, Sallly, and Thacker, Kathryn. 2020. “Intersectional Encounters, Representative Bureaucracy, and the Routine Traffic Stop.Policy Studies Journal. doi:10.1111/psj.12382CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Blackmon, Douglas A. 2008. Slavery by Another Name: The Re-enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
Blalock, Hubert M. Jr. 1967. Toward a Theory of Minority-Group Relations. New York: Perigee Books.Google Scholar
Brehm, John, and Gates, Scott. 1999. Working, Shirking, and Sabotage: Bureaucratic Response to a Democratic Public. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
Broockman, David E. 2013. “Black Politicians are more Intrinsically Motivated to Advance Blacks’ Interests: A Field Experiment Manipulating Political Incentives.” American Journal of Political Science 57 (3): 521–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Browning, Rufus P., Rogers Marshall, Dale, and Tabb, David H.. 1984. Protest is not Enough: The Struggle of Blacks and Hispanics for Equality in Urban Politics. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
Burch, Traci. 2013. Trading Democracy for Justice: Criminal Convictions and the Decline of Neighborhood Political Participation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Canon, David T. 1999. Race, Redistricting, and Representation: The Unintended Consequences of Black Majority Districts. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Christiani, Leah. “Intersectional Stereotyping in Policing: An Analysis of Traffic Stop Outcomes.Politics, Groups, and Identities (2020): 123. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/21565503.2020.1748064CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Clark, Christopher J. 2019. Gaining Voice: The Causes and Consequences of Black Representation in the American States. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Cohen Marks, Mara A., and Stout, Christopher. 2011. “Rating Los Angeles’ Top Cop: Descriptive Representation and Support for the Police Chief.” Race and Justice 1 (4): 341–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Correll, Joshua, and Keesee, Tracie. 2009. “Racial Bias in the Decision to Shoot?” The Police Chief 75 (5): 5458.Google Scholar
Correll, J., Park, B., Judd, C.M., and Wittenbrink, B. 2002. “The Police Officer's Dilemma: Using Ethnicity to Disambiguate Potentially Threatening Individuals.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 83 (6): 1314–29.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Correll, J., Park, B., Judd, C.M., Wittenbrink, B., and Sadler, M.S. 2007. “Across the Thin Blue Line: Police Officers and Racial Bias in the Decision to Shoot.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 92 (6): 1006–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dollar, Cindy Brooks. 2014. “Racial Threat Theory: Assessing the Evidence, Requesting Redesign.” Journal of Criminology, Article ID 983026.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Eberhardt, Jennifer L. 2019. Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do. New York: Viking.Google Scholar
Engel, Robin Shepard, Calnon, Jennifer M., and Bernard, Thomas J.. 2002. “Theory and Racial Profiling: Shortcomings and Future Directions in Research.” Justice Quarterly 19 (2): 249–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Epp, Charles R., Maynard-Moody, Steven, and Haider-Markel, Donald P.. 2014. Pulled Over: How Police Stops Define Race and Citizenship. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Epp, Derek A. & Erhardt, Macey. 2020. “The Use and Effectiveness of Investigative Police Stops.Politics, Groups, and Identities. DOI: 10.1080/21565503.2020.1724160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fagan, Jeffrey, and Geller, Amanda. 2015. “Following the Script: Narratives of Suspicion in “Terry” Stops in Street Policing.” University of Chicago Law Review 82 (1): 5188.Google Scholar
Fagan, Jeffrey, Geller, Amanda, Davies, Garth, and West, Valerie. 2010.“Street Stops and Broken Windows Revisited.Race, Ethnicity, and Policing: 309–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Fagan, Jeffrey, and Davies, Garth. 2000. “Street Stops and Broken Windows: Terry, Race, and Disorder in New York City.Fordham Urb. LJ 28: 457.Google Scholar
Fiske, Susan T. 1993. “Social Cognition and Social Perception.” Annual Review of Psychology 44 (1): 155–94.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Gelman, Andrew, Fagan, Jeffrey, and Kiss, Alex. 2007. “An Analysis of The New York City Police Department's Stop-and-Frisk Police in the Context of Claims of Racial Bias.” Journal of the American Statistical Association 102: 813–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gilliam, Franklin D. Jr., and Iyengar, Shanto. 2000. “Prime Suspects: The Influence of Local Television News on the Viewing Public.” American Journal of Political Science 44 (3): 560–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gilliam, Franklin D. Jr., Valentino, Nicholas A., and Beckmann, Matthew N.. 2002. “Where You Live and What You Watch: The Impact of Racial Proximity and Local Television News on Attitudes about Race and Crime.” Political Research Quarterly 55 (4): 755–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Glaser, Jack, Spencer, Katherine, and Charbonneau, Amanda. 2014. “Racial Bias and Public Policy.Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences 1 (1): 8894.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Glaser, Jack. 2015. Suspect Race: Causes and Consequences of Racial Profiling. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Goff, Phillip A., and Kahn, K. B. 2012. “Racial Bias in Policing: Why We Know Less Than We Should.” Social Issues and Policy Review 6: 175207.Google Scholar
Goffman, Alice. 2014. On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Grose, Christian R. 2011. Congress in Black and White: Race and Representation in Washington and at Home. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Harris, David A. 2002a. Profiles in Injustice: Why Racial Profiling Cannot Work. New York: New Press.Google Scholar
Harris, David A. 2002b. “Racial Profiling Revisited: “Just Common Sense” in the Fight Against Terror?Criminal Justice 17: 3641, 59.Google Scholar
King, Ryan D., and Wheelock, Darren. 2007. “Group Threat and Social Control: Race.” Perceptions of Minorities and the Desire to Punish. Social Forces 85 (3): 1255–80.Google Scholar
Kubrin, Charis E., and Weitzer, Ronald. 2003. “New Directions in Social Disorganization Theory.” Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 40 (4): 374402.Google Scholar
Lerman, Amy E., and Weaver, Vesla M.. 2014a. Arresting Citizenship: The Democratic Consequences of American Crime Control. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lerman, Amy E., and Weaver, Vesla M.. 2014b. “Staying out of Sight? Concentrated Policing and Local Political Action.” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 651 (1): 202–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
MacDonald, John, Fagan, Jeffrey, and Geller, Amanda. 2016. “The Effects of Local Police Surges on Crime and Arrests in New York City.PLoS one 11.6.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Meares, Tracey L., Tyler, Tom R., and Gardener, Jacob. 2016. “Lawful or Fair? How Cops and Laypeople Perceive Good Policing.” Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology 105 (2): 297344.Google Scholar
Miller, Gary J. 2005. “The Political Evolution of Principal-Agent Models.” Annual Review of Political. Science 8: 203–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mummolo, Jonathan. 2018. “Modern Police Tactics, Police-Citizen Interactions, and the Prospects for Reform.” The Journal of Politics 80 (1): 115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Novak, Kenneth J., and Chamlin, Mitchell B.. 2008. “Racial Threat, Suspicion, and Police Behavior: The Impact of Race and Place in Traffic Enforcement.” Crime & Delinquency 58 (2): 275300.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
O'Connell, Heather A. 2012. “The Impact of Slavery on Racial Inequality in Poverty in the Contemporary U.S. South.” Social Forces 90 (3): 713–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Oshinsky, David M. 1996. Worse Than Slavery: Parchman Farm and the Ordeal of Jim Crow Justice. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
Peffley, Mark, and Hurwitz, Jon. 2010. Justice in America: The Separate Realities of Blacks and Whites. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pierson, E, Simoiu, C, Overgoor, J, Corbett-Davies, S, Jenson, D, Shoemaker, A, Ramachandran, V, Barghouty, P, Phillips, C, Shroff, R, Goel, S. 2020. “A Large-Scale Analysis of Racial Disparities in Police Stops Across the United States.Nature Human Behaviour. May 4: 1–10.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Rainguet, Fred W., and Dodge, Mary. 2001. “The Problems of Police Chiefs: An Examination of the Issues in Tenure and Turnover.” Police Quarterly 4 (3): 268–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Remsberg, Charles. 1995. Tactics for Criminal Patrol. Illinois: Calibre Press.Google Scholar
Rocha, Rene, Maltby, Elizabeth, Jones, Bradford, and Vannette, David L.. forthcoming. “Residential Context, Mass Deportation, and Latino Ethnic Identity.” Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Politics.Google Scholar
Roh, Sunghoon, and Robinson, Matthew. 2009. “A Geographic Approach to Racial Profiling: The Microanalysis and Macroanalysis of Racial Disparity in Traffic Stops.” Police Quarterly 12 (2): 137–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Saltzstein, Grace Hall. 1989. “Black Mayors and Police Policies.” Journal of Politics 51: 525–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sampson, Robert J., and Groves, W. Byron. 1989. “Community Structure and Crime: Testing Social-Disorganization Theory.” American Journal of Sociology 94 (4): 774802.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sampson, Robert J., and Bartusch, Dawn Jeglum. 1998. “Legal Cynicism and (Subcultural?) Tolerance of Deviance: The Neighborhood Context of Racial Differences.Law & Society Review 32 (4): 777804.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sampson, Robert J., and Loeffler, Charles. 2010. “Punishment's Place: The Local Concentration of Mass Incarceration.” Daedalus 139 (3): 2031.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Sances, Michael W., and You, Hye Young. 2017. “Who Pays for Government? Descriptive Representation and Exploitative Revenue Sources.” The Journal of Politics 79 (3): 1090–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sharp, Elaine B. 2014. “Minority Representation and Order Maintenance Policing: Toward a Contingent View.” Social Science Quarterly 95 (4): 1155–71.Google Scholar
Smith, Douglas A. 1986. “The Neighborhood Context of Police Behavior.” Crime and Justice 8: 313–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sonenshein, Rafael. 1993. Politics in Black and White: Race and Power in Los Angeles. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Stults, Brian J., and Baumer, Eric P.. 2007. “Racial Context and Police Force Size: Evaluating the Empirical Validity of the Minority Threat Perspective.” American Journal of Sociology 113 (2): 507–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tyler, Tom, Jackson, Jonathan, and Mentovich, Avital. 2015. “The Consequences of Being and Object of Suspicion: The Potential Pitfalls of Proactive Police Contact.” Journal of Empirical Legal Studies 12 (4): 602–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Voigt, Rob, Camp, Nicholas P., Prabhakaran, Vinodkumar, Hamilton, William L., Hetey, Rebecca C., Griffiths, Camilla M., Jurgens, David, Jurafsky, Dan, and Eberhardt, Jennifer L.. 2017. “Language from Police Body Camera Footage Shows Racial Disparities in Officer Respect.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS). http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1702413114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Weaver, Vesla, Prowse, Gwen, and Piston, Spencer. 2020. “Withdrawing and Drawing In: Political Discourse in Policed Communities.” Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Politics. https://doi.org/10.1017/rep.2019.50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Welch, Kelly. 2007. “Black Criminal Stereotypes and Racial Profiling.” Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice 23 (3): 276–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Whitby, Kenny J. 2007. “The Effect of Black Descriptive Representation on Black Electoral Turnout in the 2004 Elections.” Social Science Quarterly 88 (4): 1010–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wilson, James Q., and Kelling, George I.. 1982. “Broken Windows: The Police and Neighborhood Safety.” Atlantic Monthly 249 (3): 2938.Google Scholar
Supplementary material: PDF

Shoub et al. supplementary material

Online Appendix

Download Shoub et al. supplementary material(PDF)
PDF 431 KB
9
Cited by

Linked content

Please note a has been issued for this article.

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Race, Place, and Context: The Persistence of Race Effects in Traffic Stop Outcomes in the Face of Situational, Demographic, and Political Controls
Available formats
×

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Race, Place, and Context: The Persistence of Race Effects in Traffic Stop Outcomes in the Face of Situational, Demographic, and Political Controls
Available formats
×

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Race, Place, and Context: The Persistence of Race Effects in Traffic Stop Outcomes in the Face of Situational, Demographic, and Political Controls
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *