The Paradox of Misaligned Profiling: Theory and Experimental Evidence
Journal of Conflict Resolution, vol.
This paper implements an experimental test of a game-theoretic model of equilibrium profiling. Attackers choose a demographic “type” from which to recruit, and defenders choose which demographic types to search. Some types are more reliable than others in the sense of having a higher probability of carrying out a successful attack if they get past the security checkpoint. In a Nash equilibrium, defenders tend to profile by searching the more reliable attacker types more frequently, whereas the attackers tend to send less reliable types. Data from laboratory experiments with financially motivated human subjects are consistent with the qualitative patterns predicted by theory. However, we also find several interesting behavioral deviations from the theory.