Analytics at Wharton


Wharton Professor Dean Knox Recipient of 2021 NOMIS & Science Young Explorer Award

headshot of professor Dean Knox

PHILADELPHIA, November 4, 2021—The lack of progress in identifying and addressing the racial disparities in law enforcement stems in part from inconsistent record-keeping and misleading statistical analyses of incomplete data, according to Dean Knox, the winner of the 2021 NOMIS & Science Young Explorer Award.

His prize-winning essay illustrates the value of applying new tools and statistical techniques to imperfect data to reveal the extent and severity of racial bias in policing.

“At a time of heightened exposure of police policy and practice, it is intriguing to read how this prize-winning research used causal reasoning to make sense of a complex and incomplete dataset to reveal racial disparities in policing,” said Beverly Purnell, Senior Editor at Science.

Despite decades of high-profile and widely publicized incidents of excessive force against minorities in the United States and amid growing demands for police reform, courts, policy makers and the public struggle to understand the nature of racial disparities in law enforcement.

According to Knox, an Assistant Professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, the root of this problem may lie within the data being used to evaluate these questions.