Fundamental Research

Systemic racial bias in policing

Amid massive protests across the US against systemic racial bias, researchers have sought to analyse data on police encounters with civilians to draw conclusions about the extent and nature of such racism in the criminal justice system. Dean Knox of Princeton University, Will Lowe of the Hertie School, and Jonathan Mummolo of Princeton University argued in a paper published in the American Political Science Review (APSR) in May that some high-profile research is skewed due to bias inherent in data sampling. This means that some research may even be underestimating the level of racial bias in the criminal justice system. The findings in their paper have become part of a lively academic and public debate on how data is used, featured on 25 June in FiveThirtyEight, the popular news website focusing on data-driven news and analysis.

Full paper

FiveThirtyEight discussion

Project lead