Passenger Profiling, Imperfect Screening, and Airport Security

16 Pages Posted: 21 Jan 2005

See all articles by Nicola G. Persico

Nicola G. Persico

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics

Petra Todd

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Date Written: January 12, 2005

Abstract

We present a theoretical model of airport searches. The model extends previous work in the area in that detection conditional on search is imperfect. The hit rates tests for racial bias developed in Knowles, Persico, and Todd (2001) is shown to apply even in the presence of imperfections in monitoring. We then study two channels for improving airport security: better targeting and better detection. We show that better targeting does not necessarily decrease the overall crime rate, although it will decrease crime in the group that is targeted. Improved detection rates unambiguously decrease crime. Group-specific improvements in detection do not necessarily increase the number of searches for those groups. The analysis is extended to allow for the possibility that criminal passengers disguise themselves as members of low-crime groups.

Keywords: Racial Profiling, Crime, Police, Airport, Terrorism

JEL Classification: J70, K42

Suggested Citation

Persico, Nicola G. and Todd, Petra, Passenger Profiling, Imperfect Screening, and Airport Security (January 12, 2005). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=651881 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.651881

Nicola G. Persico (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics ( email )

Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science
133 South 36th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6297
United States

Petra Todd

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics ( email )

Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science
133 South 36th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6297
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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