Frank R. Baumgartner: Racial Disparities in Traffic Stops


Monday, November 6, 2017, 12:00pm to 1:45pm


Allison Dining Room

Frank R. Baumgartner, Richard J. Richardson Distinguished Professor of Political Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Read a chapter from the speaker's forthcoming book, Suspect Citizens: What 20 Million Traffic Stops Tells Us about Policing and Race, by Frank R. Baumgartner, Derek A. Epp, and Kelsey Shoub, Cambridge University Press, 2018.
View chapter 

About the speaker

Frank R. Baumgartner is the Richard J. Richardson Distinguished Professor of Political Science at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He joined the department in 2009 as the first holder of the Richardson professorship. 

His work focuses on public policy, agenda-setting, and interest groups in American and comparative politics and has appeared in such journals as the American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Politics, Comparative Politics, the Journal of European Public Policy, and Legislative Studies Quarterly. In recent years he has also been involved in studies of race and criminal justice.

His most recent book, Deadly Justice: A Statistical Portrait of the Death Penalty—co-authored with current and former UNC undergraduate students (including Inequality & Social Policy doctoral fellow Kaneesha Johnson, now a PhD student in Government at Harvard)—brings together much of his recent work on race, innocence, delays, reversals, and the geographically arbitrary nature of the death penalty in the modern (post-1976) era. Justice Stephen Breyer  has recently called for a review of the U.S. experience with the death penalty, and this book seeks to answer some of the most pertinent empirical questions relevant to that review. This book is scheduled for release by Oxford University Press on November 1, 2017.
Baumgartner and Bryan D. Jones created the Policy Agendas Project, which they continue to direct with John Wilkerson. Jones and Baumgartner have written three books together, all published by the University of Chicago Press: The Politics of Information: Problem Definition and the Course of Public Policy in America (2015); The Politics of Attention: How Government Prioritizes Problems (2005); and Agendas and Instability in American Politics (1993; second edition 2009). In 2001, the APSA Section on Public Policy awarded the Aaron Wildavsky Award for this book as "a work of lasting impact on the field of public policy." In 2016, the National Academy of Public Administration awarded them the Louis Brownlow Award, denoting The Politics of Information as the best book in the field in 2015. In 2017 the International Public Policy Association awarded the book its prize as the best book on public policy published in English in 2015.
In 2008, his book The Decline of the Death Penalty and the Discovery of Innocence (Cambridge University Press, 2008, with Suzanna De Boef and Amber E. Boydstun) was awarded the Gladys M. Kammerer Award by the American Political Science Association for the best book on US national policy. 
In 2009, the University of Chicago Press published Lobbying and Policy Change: Who Wins, Who Loses, and Why (Frank R. Baumgartner, Jeffrey M. Berry, Marie Hojnacki, David C. Kimball, and Beth L. Leech), reporting the findings from the Lobbying and Policy Advocacy Project, based on interviews with over 300 Washington lobbyists and policymakers. This book won the Leon D. Epstein Outstanding Book Award from the APSA Section on Political Organizations and Parties in 2010.
In 2011, he began a research project with graduate student Derek Epp (soon joined by Kelsey Shoub) focused on the analysis of all traffic stops in the state, based on official data collected since 2000, but never subjected to systematic analysis. This work has led to considerable news coverage across the state and is engaging policymakers to address the problem of racial profiling. In 2018 Cambridge University Press will publish Suspect Citizens: What 20 Million Traffic Stops Tells Us About Policing and Race (Baumgartner, Epp, and Shoub). The book takes a comprehensive look at over 20 million traffic stops in North Carolina and focuses on racial profiling and the high costs, but low dividends, of diverting the traffic safety function of traffic patrols to the war on crime.
In 2011, the APSA Section on Political Organizations and Parties named Baumgartner the recipient of the Samuel J. Eldersveld Award for Career Achievement. In 2017 he was inducted as a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
A proud Detroiter, he attended Detroit's Cass Technical High School and then the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, receiving his BA in 1980, MA in 1983 (Political Science), and PhD in 1986 (Political Science). 

baumgartner17.pdf524 KB
See also: Fall 2017