HDR Scholarship - Discrimination in Policing: Evidence from Natural Experiments

Applications now open. A PhD scholarship is available to initiate and conduct research on the topic 'Discrimination in Policing: Evidence from Natural Experiments'.

Project Supervisor


Melbourne Burwood Campus

Research topic

The PhD student will work closely with Dr Romain Gauriot and co-author papers with him. The work will involve analyzing large administrative data (e.g., millions of speeding fines and linking it to census data) and performing advanced econometrics. This research project investigates whether law enforcement discriminates against certain groups and explores the mechanisms explaining how it decides with which groups to be strict and with which groups to be lenient. It focuses on speeding fines, which offer unique naturally occurring situations which allow exploring those questions rigorously. It aims to better understand discrimination in Australia and the factors explaining it, which should contribute to better policy design.

The ideal start date is 26 February 2024. However, there is flexibility regarding the start date if the successful applicant needs to start later. This research is partially funded by the Australian Government through the Australian Research Council (ARC).

Project aim

Allowing discretion in the application of the law enables the spirit of the law to be respected, while also providing flexibility in its application. However, this discretion can lead to discrimination based on race, wealth, and gender. It is, therefore, essential to understand how this discretion is applied and whether it leads to discrimination.

This research program focuses on the issue of speeding fines, which provides unique real-world data to explore these questions rigorously. By understanding how discretion is applied in this context and whether it leads to discrimination, we can gain valuable insights into the prevalence and impact of discrimination in Australia. While the findings will help us understand discrimination outside this specific setting, studying how speeding fines are issued is important by itself. Driving is part of Australians’ daily life; 66.1% of Australians travel to work by car, and 8% have received a speeding fine in the last 12 months. With speeding offences being so prevalent, it is essential to better understand whether all Australians are treated equally when driving over the speed limit. By deepening our understanding of discrimination in Australia, this research program will inform policy making and could lead to more equitable treatment for all Australians.

Important dates

Applications close 5pm, Friday 15 March 2024


This scholarship is available over 3 years.

  • Stipend of $34,400 per annum tax exempt (2024 rate)
  • International students only:  Tuition fees offset for the duration of 4 years. Single Overseas Student Health Cover policy for the duration of the student visa.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible you must:

  • be a domestic or international candidate. Domestic includes candidates with Australian Citizenship, Australian Permanent Residency or New Zealand Citizenship.
  • meet Deakin's PhD entry requirements
  • be enrolling full time and hold an honours degree (first class) or an equivalent standard master's degree with a substantial research component.

Please refer to the research degree entry pathways page for further information.

How to apply

Please email a CV and cover letter to Dr Romain Gauriot. The CV should highlight your skills, education, publications and relevant work experience. If you are successful you will then be invited to submit a formal application.

Contact us

For more information about this scholarship, please contact Dr Romain Gauriot.

Dr Romain Gauriot
Email Dr Romain Gauriot
+61 3 924 45242