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Diversity and Forensics: Diversity in Hiring is Not Enough

Roger Koppl ()

Labor and Demography from EconWPA

Abstract: The current organization of forensic work may induce biases in forensic analysis (Risinger et al. 2002). Such biases may have a differential impact across groups, creating differential bias. We should reorganize forensic work to reduce differential bias. The obvious strategy of hiring ethnically diverse forensic workers will not work. “Us vs. Them” thinking is an important source of differential bias. The definition of “Us” and “Them” is socially conditioned. The current organization of forensic work induces forensic workers to see the police as “Us” and suspects of any ethnicity as “Them.” Thus, differential biases in arrests become differential biases in forensic analysis. I argue that my prior proposal for “competitive self regulation” (Koppl 2005) would reduce or eliminate differential bias. Competitive self regulation divides forensic work among several, unrelated parties, and hides extraneous, bias-inducing information from forensic analysts. These measures separate forensic workers from the police, reduce their sense of identification with the police, and hide from them the knowledge of what result the police are looking for. My argument builds on a literature on biases, Us vs. Them thinking, and the role of “coalitional alliances” (Kurzban, Cosmides, and Tooby 2001) in bias formation.

Keywords: diversity; forensics; bias; evolutionary psychology (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J15 K0 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2005-10-05
Note: Type of Document - doc; pages: 21
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