Kevin Lewis

March 04, 2016

The Reverse Racism Effect: Are Cops More Hesitant to Shoot Black Than White Suspects?

Lois James, Stephen James & Bryan Vila

Criminology & Public Policy, forthcoming

Race-related debates often assume that implicit racial bias will result in racially biased decisions to shoot. Previous research has examined racial bias in police decisions by pressing “shoot” or “don't-shoot” buttons in response to pictures of armed and unarmed suspects. As a result of its lack of external validity, however, this methodology provides limited insight into officer behavior in the field. In response, we conducted the first series of experimental research studies that tested police officers and civilians in strikingly realistic deadly force simulators. This article reports the results of our most recent experiment, which tested 80 police patrol officers by applying this leading edge method. We found that, despite clear evidence of implicit bias against Black suspects, officers were slower to shoot armed Black suspects than armed White suspects, and they were less likely to shoot unarmed Black suspects than unarmed White suspects. These findings challenge the assumption that implicit racial bias affects police behavior in deadly encounters with Black suspects.


Can Rational Choice Be Considered a General Theory of Crime? Evidence from Individual-Level Panel Data

Thomas Loughran et al.

Criminology, February 2016, Pages 86–112

In the last few decades, rational choice theory has emerged as a bedrock theory in the fields of economics, sociology, psychology, and political science. Although rational choice theory has been available to criminologists for many years now, the field has not embraced it as other disciplines have. Moreover, rational choice scholars have fueled this skepticism of the theory's generality by modeling offender decision making that is one-sided — large on the costs of crime (sanction threats), short on the benefits of crime. In this article, we directly assess the generality of rational choice theory by examining a fully specified model in a population that is often presumed to be less rational — adolescents from lower socioeconomic families who commit both instrumental (property) and expressive crimes (violence/drugs). By using a panel of N = 1,354 individuals, we find that offending behavior is consistent with rational responses to changes in the perceived costs and benefits of crime even after eliminating fixed unobserved heterogeneity and other time-varying confounders, and these results are robust across different subgroups. The findings support our argument that rational choice theory is a general theory of crime.


Was there a Ferguson Effect on crime rates in large U.S. cities?

David Pyrooz et al.

Journal of Criminal Justice, September 2016, Pages 1–8

Purpose: There has been widespread speculation that the events surrounding the shooting death of an unarmed young black man by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri — and a string of similar incidents across the country — have led to increases in crime in the United States. This study tested for the “Ferguson Effect” on crime rates in large U.S. cities.

Methods: Aggregate and disaggregate monthly Part I criminal offense data were gathered 12 months before and after August 2014 from police department data requests and websites in 81 large U.S. cities. The exogenous shock of Ferguson was examined using a discontinuous growth model to determine if there was a redirection in seasonality-adjusted crime trends in the months following the Ferguson shooting.

Results: No evidence was found to support a systematic post-Ferguson change in overall, violent, and property crime trends; however, the disaggregated analyses revealed that robbery rates, declining before Ferguson, increased in the months after Ferguson. Also, there was much greater variation in crime trends in the post-Ferguson era, and select cities did experience increases in homicide. Overall, any Ferguson Effect is constrained largely to cities with historically high levels of violence, a large composition of black residents, and socioeconomic disadvantages.

Conclusions: The national discourse surrounding the “Ferguson Effect” is long on anecdotes and short on data, leaving criminologists largely on the sidelines of a conversation concerning one of the most prominent contemporary issues in criminal justice. Our findings are largely consistent with longstanding criminological knowledge that changes in crime trends are slow and rarely a product of random shocks.


Race Making in a Penal Institution

Michael Walker

American Journal of Sociology, January 2016, Pages 1051-1078

This article provides a ground-level investigation into the lives of penal inmates, linking the literature on race making and penal management to provide an understanding of racial formation processes in a modern penal institution. Drawing on 135 days of ethnographic data collected as an inmate in a Southern California county jail system, the author argues that inmates are subjected to two mutually constitutive racial projects — one institutional and the other microinteractional. Operating in symbiosis within a narrative of risk management, these racial projects increase (rather than decrease) incidents of intraracial violence and the potential for interracial violence. These findings have implications for understanding the process of racialization and evaluating the effectiveness of penal management strategies.


Protecting Whiteness: White Phenotypic Racial Stereotypicality Reduces Police Use of Force

Kimberly Barsamian Kahn et al.

Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Focusing on intergroup anti-non-White bias in the criminal justice system, little attention is given to how Whites may additionally be protected from negative police treatment. This study examines intragroup bias via perceived suspect phenotypic racial stereotypicality (e.g., how strongly members possess physical features typical of their racial group) on severity of police use of force. It is hypothesized that the Whiter one appears, the more the suspect will be protected from police force. Internal use of force case files from a large police department were coded for severity of police force, and suspects’ booking photographs were scored for phenotypic racial stereotypicality. Regression analyses confirmed that police used less force with highly stereotypical Whites, and this protective effect was stronger than the effect for non-Whites. Results suggest that intragroup bias is a protective factor for Whites, but not for non-Whites, providing an additional route through which racial disparities in policing operate.


The relationship between stand-your-ground laws and crime: A state-level analysis

Mark Gius

Social Science Journal, forthcoming

There have been numerous incidents over the past several years involving justifiable homicides and stand-your-ground (SYG) laws. Many of these incidents involved unarmed alleged criminals being shot by armed citizens who claimed a right of self-defense due to perceived threatening behaviors on the part of the alleged criminal. In order to better understand the role that self-defense laws, and in particular stand-your-ground laws, has on these types of shootings, the present study will attempt to determine the relationship between SYG laws and crime. A fixed effects model that controls for both state-level and year fixed effects and a two stage fixed effects model are estimated. Results of the present study indicate that the relationships between SYG laws and crime rates are mixed. For some crimes and for certain time periods, SYG laws are positively related to crime. For other crimes, there is no significant relationship between the two. It is important to note, however, that none of the results of the present study suggest that SYG laws reduce crime.


Incarceration and Crime: Evidence from California’s Public Safety Realignment Reform

Magnus Lofstrom & Steven Raphael

ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, March 2016, Pages 196-220

Recent reforms in California caused a sharp and permanent reduction in the state’s incarceration rate. We evaluate the effects of that incarceration decline on local crime rates. Our analysis exploits the large variation across California counties in the effect of this reform on county-specific prison incarceration rates. We find very little evidence that the large reduction in California incarceration had an effect on violent crime, and modest evidence of effects on property crime, auto theft in particular. These effects are considerably smaller than existing estimates based on panel data for periods of time when the U.S. incarceration rate was considerably lower. We corroborate these cross-county results with a synthetic-cohort analysis of state crime rates in California. The statewide analysis confirms our findings from the county-level analysis. In line with previous research, the results from this study support the hypothesis of a crime-prison effect that diminishes with increased reliance on incarceration.


Targeted for Diffusion? How the Use and Acceptance of Stereotypes Shape the Diffusion of Criminal Justice Policy Innovations in the American States

Graeme Boushey

American Political Science Review, forthcoming

This article explores the diffusion of criminal justice policy in the American states. Drawing on policy design theory, I code newspaper coverage of 44 criminal justice policies adopted across state governments from 1960–2008, identifying the image and power of target populations — the group singled out for special treatment under law. I test whether electoral pressure leads governments to disproportionally emulate innovations that reinforce popular stereotypes regarding who is entitled to policy benefits or deserving of policy burdens. I find strong support for this theory: State governments are more likely to adopt innovations that extend benefits to strong, popular, and powerful target populations or that impose burdens on weak and politically marginalized groups. This bias can be explained by pressures for responsive policy making, as my findings indicate that it is the national salience of the crime problem — but not the competitiveness or timing of state elections — that influences state adoption of popular “law and order” policy innovations.


The Effect of Degree Attainment on Arrests: Evidence from a Randomized Social Experiment

Vikesh Amin et al.

Economics of Education Review, forthcoming

We examine the effect of educational attainment on criminal behavior using random assignment into Job Corps (JC) — the United States’ largest education and vocational training program for disadvantaged youth — as a source of exogenous variability in educational attainment. We allow such random assignment to violate the exclusion restriction when used as an instrument by employing nonparametric bounds. The attainment of a degree is estimated to reduce arrest rates by at most 11.8 percentage points (about 32.6%). We also find suggestive evidence that the effects may be larger for males relative to females, and larger for black males relative to white males. Remarkably, our 95 percent confidence intervals on the causal effect of education on arrests are very similar to those from studies exploiting changes in compulsory schooling laws as an instrumental variable (e.g., Lochner, L. and Moretti, E. (2004). “The Effect of Education on Crime: Evidence from Prison Inmates, Arrests and Self-reports”, American Economic Review, 94 (1): 155-189.), despite our use of a different source of exogenous variation, methodology, and sample.


Blended Sentencing Laws and the Punitive Turn in Juvenile Justice

Shelly Schaefer & Christopher Uggen

Law & Social Inquiry, forthcoming

In many states, young people today can receive a “blended” combination of both a juvenile sanction and an adult criminal sentence. We ask what accounts for the rise of blended sentencing in juvenile justice and whether this trend parallels crime control developments in the adult criminal justice system. We use event history analysis to model state adoption of blended sentencing laws from 1985 to 2008, examining the relative influence of social, political, administrative, and economic factors. We find that states with high unemployment, greater prosecutorial discretion, and disproportionate rates of African American incarceration are most likely to pass blended sentencing provisions. This suggests that the turn toward blended sentencing largely parallels the punitive turn in adult sentencing and corrections — and that theory and research on adult punishment productively extends to developments in juvenile justice.


Black and Hispanic Men Perceived to Be Large Are at Increased Risk for Police Frisk, Search, and Force

Adrienne Milner, Brandon George & David Allison

PLoS ONE, January 2016

Social justice issues remain some of the most pressing problems in the United States. One aspect of social justice involves the differential treatment of demographic groups in the criminal justice system. While data consistently show that Blacks and Hispanics are often treated differently than Whites, one understudied aspect of these disparities is how police officers' assessments of suspects' size affects their decisions. Using over 3 million cases from the New York Police Department (NYPD) Stop, Question, and Frisk (SQF) Database, 2006–2013, this study is the first to explore suspects' race, perceived size, and police treatment. Results indicate that tall and heavy black and Hispanic men are at the greatest risk for frisk or search. Tall and heavy suspects are at increased risk for experiencing police force, with black and Hispanic men being more likely to experience force than white men across size categories.


Blue on Black: An Empirical Assessment of Police Shootings

Nirej Sekhon

Georgia State University Working Paper, January 2016

Michael Brown’s 2014 death in Ferguson, Missouri thrust police-officer-involved homicides into the popular consciousness. A series of subsequent officer-involved homicides has kept the issue politically and legally salient. Despite this, official data sources are thin and unreliable. This article presents original analysis of 259 police shooting incidents that occurred in Chicago between 2006 and 2014. The study, based upon publicly available information, suggests a more complex relationship between race, policing, and violence than one might expect from high-profile, officer-involved shootings. As in other large cities, shooting victims are overwhelmingly minorities, with Black persons constituting over 80% of victims. Contrary to intuition, many of the officer shooters are minorities as well. The analysis here suggests that neither racist malevolence nor unconscious bias afford complete explanations for why officer-involved shootings occur. Both of these explanatory frameworks focus too intensively upon individual officers’ decision-making at the expense of institutional and situational dynamics. Scholars and policy makers should focus far more intensively on regulating bad practices, rather than just on disciplining bad officers following egregious incidents. Shifting focus in this way will help identify connections between everyday policing tactics in minority neighborhoods – such as plainclothes policing and aggressive stop and frisk – and officer-involved shootings. The article also concludes that evidentiary challenges mar post hoc review of officer-involved shootings, whether it is in the form of judicial or civilian review. This also underscores the importance of preventive regulation.


Is Crime Bad for Business? Crime and Commercial Property Values in New York City

Michael Lens & Rachel Meltzer

Journal of Regional Science, forthcoming

To test how crime affects economic activity, we use point-specific data on crime, commercial property sales and assessed values from New York City, relying on an instrumental variables strategy. We find that crime reduces commercial property values, and the magnitude of the effect depends on the type and geography of crime. Elasticities range from −0.1 to −0.5. We find stronger evidence for negative violent crime effects in neighborhoods with lower incomes and higher shares of minority residents. Thus, disadvantaged neighborhoods are doubly harmed by crime — they have higher crime rates and those crimes have stronger effects on economic activity.


The Effect of High School Shootings on Schools and Student Performance

Louis-Philippe Beland & Dongwoo Kim

Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, March 2016, Pages 113-126

We analyze how fatal shootings in high schools affect schools and students using data from shooting databases, school report cards, and the Common Core of Data. We examine schools’ test scores, enrollment, number of teachers, graduation, attendance, and suspension rates at schools that experienced a shooting, employing a difference-in-differences strategy that uses other high schools in the same district as the comparison group. Our findings suggest that homicidal shootings significantly decrease the enrollment of students in Grade 9 and test scores in math and English standardized tests. Using student-level data from California, we confirm that shootings lower test results for students who remain enrolled.


Partners in Crime: Schools, Neighborhoods and the Formation of Criminal Networks

Stephen Billings, David Deming & Stephen Ross

NBER Working Paper, February 2016

Why do crime rates differ greatly across neighborhoods and schools? Comparing youth who were assigned to opposite sides of newly drawn school boundaries, we show that concentrating disadvantaged youth together in the same schools and neighborhoods increases total crime. We then show that these youth are more likely to be arrested for committing crimes together – to be “partners in crime”. Our results suggest that direct peer interaction is a key mechanism for social multipliers in criminal behavior. As a result, policies that increase residential and school segregation will – all else equal – increase crime through the formation of denser criminal networks.


State Firearm Sales and Criminal Activity: Evidence from Firearm Background Checks

Matthew Lang

Southern Economic Journal, forthcoming

The FBI has reported the number of monthly firearm background checks in every state since November 1998. This article uses data on background checks at the state level to explore the relationship between guns and crime. The background checks capture an individual's intention to purchase a firearm and explain 96% of the variation in gun manufacturing at a national level. Fixed effect negative binomial regressions show a positive, but insignificant, relationship between background checks and violent crimes. Property crimes are negatively related to background checks and statistically significant at the 10% level. The results suggest that gun control policies should be coupled with other initiatives if policy makers intend to reduce gun-related crime.


Incarceration of a family member during childhood is associated with later heart attack: Findings from two large, population-based studies

Bradley White, Lydia Cordie-Garcia & Esme Fuller-Thomson

Journal of Criminal Justice, March 2016, Pages 89–98

Purpose: We examined the relationship between exposure to family member incarceration during childhood (FMIC) and myocardial infarction, controlling for traditional cardiovascular risk and social risk factors.

Methods: Gender-specific analyses were conducted in two, independent large population-based data sets of respondents aged 50 and over. Data were obtained from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). We first analyzed the 2012 BRFSS sample (n = 5721 men, 9240 women), and then replicated the analyses using the 2011 BRFSS sample (n = 9393 men, 13,147 women). Both samples excluded respondents reporting childhood physical or sexual abuse.

Results: After adjustment for 17 factors, in men, the odds of heart attack among those with FMIC was significantly higher in both the 2012 and 2011 analyses (OR = 1.77, 95% CI = 1.20, 2.61; OR = 2.32, 95% CI = 1.60, 3.37, respectively). Among women, FMIC was not associated with heart attack in either fully adjusted analysis (OR = 1.14, 95% CI = 0.59, 2.18; OR = 1.23, 95% CI = 0.66, 2.29, respectively).

Conclusions: Findings suggest that FMIC is associated with myocardial infarction in men, even after adjusting for a wide range of traditional risk factors (e.g., socio-demographics, substance abuse, smoking physical activity, body mass, lifetime diabetes, and depression). Future research should explore plausible mechanisms and why the observed gender differences exist.


Race-of-interviewer effects and survey questions about police violence

Brenda Savage

Sociological Spectrum, May/June 2016, Pages 142-157

This research uses binary logistic regression to test for a connection between the race of interviewer and race of respondent on five questions in the General Social Survey about the use of physical force by the police. Results indicate two instances of race-of-interviewer effect: (1) black respondents were more likely to voice disapproval about whether the police can strike a citizen trying to escape when speaking to a black interviewer, and (2) white respondents were less likely to voice approval of police striking an adult male citizen in the presence of a black interviewer. Secondary findings indicate that education is consistently significant regardless of race of respondent and the survey question, while social class, sex, age, and region are significant in only limited scenarios.


Forecasting Domestic Violence: A Machine Learning Approach to Help Inform Arraignment Decisions

Richard Berk, Susan Sorenson & Geoffrey Barnes

Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, March 2016, Pages 94–115

Arguably the most important decision at an arraignment is whether to release an offender until the date of his or her next scheduled court appearance. Under the Bail Reform Act of 1984, threats to public safety can be a key factor in that decision. Implicitly, a forecast of “future dangerousness” is required. In this article, we consider in particular whether usefully accurate forecasts of domestic violence can be obtained. We apply machine learning to data on over 28,000 arraignment cases from a major metropolitan area in which an offender faces domestic violence charges. One of three possible post-arraignment outcomes is forecasted within two years: (1) a domestic violence arrest associated with a physical injury, (2) a domestic violence arrest not associated with a physical injury, and (3) no arrests for domestic violence. We incorporate asymmetric costs for different kinds of forecasting errors so that very strong statistical evidence is required before an offender is forecasted to be a good risk. When an out-of-sample forecast of no post-arraignment domestic violence arrests within two years is made, it is correct about 90 percent of the time. Under current practice within the jurisdiction studied, approximately 20 percent of those released after an arraignment for domestic violence are arrested within two years for a new domestic violence offense. If magistrates used the methods we have developed and released only offenders forecasted not to be arrested for domestic violence within two years after an arraignment, as few as 10 percent might be arrested. The failure rate could be cut nearly in half. Over a typical 24-month period in the jurisdiction studied, well over 2,000 post-arraignment arrests for domestic violence perhaps could be averted.


The Spillover Effect of Race on Police Expenditures: An Alternative Test of the Minority Threat Hypothesis

Olugbenga Ajilore

Review of Black Political Economy, March 2016, Pages 21-34

This paper implements a novel application of spatial econometrics to test the minority threat hypothesis by estimating the relationship and potential spillovers between race and police expenditures. This paper uses a strategic interaction framework to describe the mechanism that may drive expenditure spillovers as well as demographic spillovers. Estimating a Spatial Durbin Model (SDM), the findings of this study show counties with more residential segregation and are more conservative exhibit positive spillovers on neighboring county police expenditures. This paper makes a contribution by showing the effects of greater minority threat is not limited within geographic boundaries.


How the U.S. Prison Boom Has Changed the Age Distribution of the Prison Population

Lauren Porter et al.

Criminology, February 2016, Pages 30–55

This article provides a demographic exposition of the changes in the U.S prison population during the period of mass incarceration that began in the late twentieth century. By drawing on data from the Survey of Inmates in State Correctional Facilities (1974–2004) for inmates 17–72 years of age (N= 336), we show that the age distribution shifted upward dramatically: Only 16 percent of the state prison population was 40 years old or older in 1974; by 2004, this percentage had doubled to 33 percent with the median age of prisoners rising from 27 to 34 years old. By using an estimable function approach, we find that the change in the age distribution of the prison population is primarily a cohort effect that is driven by the “enhanced” penal careers of the cohorts who hit young adulthood — the prime age of both crime and incarceration — when substance use was at its peak. Period-specific factors (e.g., proclivity for punishment and incidence of offense) do matter, but they seem to play out more across the life cycles of persons most affected in young adulthood (cohort effects) than across all age groups at one point in time (period effects).


Microaggressions, Injustices, and Racial Identity: An Empirical Assessment of the Theory of African American Offending

Deena Isom

Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, February 2016, Pages 27-59

Inspired by the recent theory of African American offending and the lack of race-centered concepts in criminological literature, I aim to answer four general research questions: (a) Do criminal justice injustices impact African Americans differently than other forms of racism? (b) Do different emotional states increase African Americans’ likelihood of offending? (c) Does having a positive racial identity buffer against the negative effects of racial discrimination? and (d) Do the effects of racial discrimination and racial identity vary between African American males and females? Using a subsample of African American youth and young adults from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods data, I find microaggressions and criminal justice injustices independently predict serious and violent offending. Anger and depression likewise serve as independent predictors, though anger suppresses the effects of depression when considered simultaneously. Racial identity also moderately buffers the negative effects of overall discrimination. The present analysis, however, finds no significant gender differences in the above processes. This study provides a firm empirical foundation for the theory of African American offending and other race-based approaches to understanding crime. Implications for future investigations are discussed.


Using Space–Time Analysis to Evaluate Criminal Justice Programs: An Application to Stop-Question-Frisk Practices

Alese Wooditch & David Weisburd

Journal of Quantitative Criminology, forthcoming

Objectives: Effects of place-based criminal justice interventions extend across both space and time, yet methodological approaches for evaluating these programs often do not accommodate the spatiotemporal dimension of the data. This paper presents an example of a bivariate spatiotemporal Ripley’s K-function, which is increasingly employed in the field of epidemiology to analyze spatiotemporal event data. Advantages of this technique over the adapted Knox test are discussed.

Methods: The study relies on x–y coordinates of the exact locations of stop-question-frisk (SQF) and crime incident events in New York City to assess the deterrent effect of SQFs on crime across space at a daily level.

Results: The findings suggest that SQFs produce a modest reduction in crime, which extends over a three-day period. Diffusion of benefits is observed within 300 feet from the location of the SQF, but these effects decay as distance from the SQF increases.

Conclusions: A bivariate spatiotemporal Ripley’s K-function is a promising approach to evaluating place-based crime prevention interventions, and may serve as a useful tool to guide program development and implementation in criminology.


Monitoring high-risk sex offenders with GPS

Stephen Gies, Randy Gainey & Eoin Healy

Criminal Justice Studies, Winter 2016, Pages 1-20

In response to media attention and public demand, legislation increasingly mandates more stringent surveillance for sex offenders. This trend towards greater supervision resulted in the lifetime GPS monitoring of high-risk sex offenders (HRSO) in California. This study assesses the impact of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s GPS program for HRSOs by employing a quasi-experimental design. The treatment group was drawn from all HRSO who were released from prison and placed on GPS monitoring in California. To identify comparison individuals likely to have pretreatment risk characteristics similar to those in the treatment group, a propensity score matching procedure was performed. The final sample included 516 subjects equally divided between the treatment and control groups. Data was assessed using Cox proportional hazards survival analysis clustering participants by parole district. Results showed the GPS condition was associated with significantly fewer parole registration and arrest violations, arrests, and convictions. These results are discussed in relation to other electronic monitoring research, the policy implications for the increasing use of this technology, and its effectiveness in reducing crime, prison populations, and ensuring public safety.


Do Nighttime Driving Restrictions Reduce Criminal Participation Among Teenagers? Evidence From Graduated Driver Licensing

Monica Deza & Daniel Litwok

Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, forthcoming

To date, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have a three-stage Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) system that phases in driving privileges for teenagers. GDL laws effectively impose a statutory driving curfew and a limitation on the number of passengers in motor vehicles. Both the timing of motor vehicle access and a limitation on the peer influences available in a motor vehicle could significantly affect the production of criminal behavior. Using the Uniform Crime Reports 1995 to 2011 and a triple-differences approach, we find that the implementation of GDL decreased criminal participation by 6 percent among teenagers ages 16 and 17, as measured by arrests. These effects are larger in magnitude in states where the nighttime driving curfew is required for a longer period of time. We also show that GDL plays an important role in reducing crime in periods of low gasoline prices, a time when teen driver prevalence would otherwise have been high. These results suggest that there is another benefit to states for adopting GDL laws and provide insight into the production of teenage crime.


Chilling Effects: Diminished Political Participation among Partners of Formerly Incarcerated Men

Naomi Sugie

Social Problems, Fall 2015, Pages 550-571

Over the past four decades, the criminal justice system has emerged as a key institution structuring social, economic, and political inequalities in the United States. Among individuals with felony records, the lack of political participation resulting from legal and non-legal barriers has likely altered election outcomes and has critical implications for our democratic principles. However, the focus on individuals may underestimate the reverberating consequences of diminished political participation. In this article, I propose that criminal justice contact, and specifically incarceration, diminishes political behavior among not only formerly incarcerated individuals but also their romantic partners. Using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing survey, I find that partner incarceration is associated with reduced political participation that is not explained by socioeconomic characteristics and is robust to different modeling approaches. Diminished participation is not due to a partner’s influence or a lack of financial resources. It is also not one aspect of broad withdrawal from civic and religious domains. Rather, reduced political participation is a specific retreat from government. I suggest that these findings align with political socialization, where lessons about government are learned through interactions and experiences with the criminal justice system.


Structural Disadvantage and Latino Violent Offending: Assessing the Latino Paradox in Context of Established Versus Emerging Latino Destinations

Noah Painter-Davis & Casey Harris

Race and Justice, forthcoming

A long-standing finding in criminology is that structural disadvantage is a robust predictor of violence. Aligned with this finding is the racial invariance thesis, which states that the causes of violence are similar across racial/ethnic groups and that, in particular, disadvantage should be associated with higher rates of violence for all groups. Yet, a growing body of research on the Latino paradox challenges this assumption in finding that disadvantage has muted effects on Latino violence compared to other groups, while related literature qualifies this by suggesting that Latino experiences with violence qualitatively differ depending on the destination types in which Latinos settle. As such, the goal of this study is to reassess the Latino paradox in context of new patterns of Latino settlement. Highlighting differences in “contexts of reception,” we evaluate whether the relationship between disadvantage and Latino violence varies between established and emerging Latino destinations. Using 2001–2004 arrest data from a multistate database, we find that structural disadvantage is positively associated with Latino homicide and that this relationship is consistent across both emerging and established locales. Additionally, we find the relationship between disadvantage and homicide to be invariant across racial/ethnic groups regardless of the context of reception.


Acquisitive Crime and Inflation in the United States: 1960–2012

Richard Rosenfeld & Aaron Levin

Journal of Quantitative Criminology, forthcoming

Objectives: Inflation is conspicuous by its absence from recent research on crime and the economy. We argue that price inflation increases the rate of crimes committed for monetary gain by fueling demand for cheap stolen goods.

Methods: The study includes inflation along with indicators of unemployment, GDP, income, consumer sentiment, and controls in error correction models of acquisitive crime covering the period from 1960 to 2012. Both short- and long-run effects of the predictors are estimated.

Results: Among the economic indicators, only inflation has consistent and robust short- and long-run effects on year-over-year change in the offense types under consideration. Low inflation helps to explain why acquisitive crime did not increase during the 2008–2009 recession. Imprisonment rates also have robust long-run effects on change in acquisitive crime rates.

Conclusions: Incorporating inflation into studies of crime and the economy can help to reduce the theoretical and empirical uncertainty that has long characterized this important research area in criminology.


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