Kevin Lewis

March 14, 2019

Racial Disparities in the Acquisition of Juvenile Arrest Records
Steven Raphael & Sandra Rozo
Journal of Labor Economics, January 2019, Pages S125-S159

We document racial and ethnic disparities in the propensity of law enforcement to formally book juvenile arrests. A fair share of these disparities can be attributed to differences in arrest offense severity and arrest history as well as cross-agency differences in practice. The disparities are the largest for age ranges and offenses where the greatest discretion is exercised. We explore whether booked arrests increase the likelihood of future arrests and bookings exploiting the discontinuity in the booking probability at age 18. The results suggest sizable effects of a prior booking on the likelihood of a future arrest and subsequent booking.

Aggressive Policing and the Educational Performance of Minority Youth
Joscha Legewie & Jeffrey Fagan
American Sociological Review, forthcoming

An increasing number of minority youth experience contact with the criminal justice system. But how does the expansion of police presence in poor urban communities affect educational outcomes? Previous research points at multiple mechanisms with opposing effects. This article presents the first causal evidence of the impact of aggressive policing on minority youths’ educational performance. Under Operation Impact, the New York Police Department (NYPD) saturated high-crime areas with additional police officers with the mission to engage in aggressive, order-maintenance policing. To estimate the effect of this policing program, we use administrative data from more than 250,000 adolescents age 9 to 15 and a difference-in-differences approach based on variation in the timing of police surges across neighborhoods. We find that exposure to police surges significantly reduced test scores for African American boys, consistent with their greater exposure to policing. The size of the effect increases with age, but there is no discernible effect for African American girls and Hispanic students. Aggressive policing can thus lower educational performance for some minority groups. These findings provide evidence that the consequences of policing extend into key domains of social life, with implications for the educational trajectories of minority youth and social inequality more broadly.

Misdemeanor Disenfranchisement? The Demobilizing Effects of Brief Jail Spells on Potential Voters
Ariel White
American Political Science Review, forthcoming

This paper presents new causal estimates of incarceration’s effect on voting, using administrative data on criminal sentencing and voter turnout. I use the random case assignment process of a major county court system as a source of exogenous variation in the sentencing of misdemeanor cases. Focusing on misdemeanor defendants allows for generalization to a large population, as such cases are very common. Among first-time misdemeanor defendants, I find evidence that receiving a short jail sentence decreases voting in the next election by several percentage points. Results differ starkly by race. White defendants show no demobilization, while Black defendants show substantial turnout decreases due to jail time. Evidence from pre-arrest voter histories suggest that this difference could be due to racial differences in exposure to arrest. These results paint a picture of large-scale, racially-disparate voter demobilization in the wake of incarceration.

“Judge Lynch” in the Court of Public Opinion: Publicity and the De-legitimation of Lynching
Michael Weaver
American Political Science Review, forthcoming

How does violence become publicly unacceptable? I address this question in the context of lynching in the United States. Between 1880 and the 1930s, public discourse about lynching moved from open or tacit endorsement to widespread condemnation. I argue this occurred because of increasing publicity for lynchings. While locals justified nearby lynchings, publicity exposed lynching to distant, un-supportive audiences and allowed African Americans to safely articulate counternarratives and condemnations. I test this argument using data on lynchings, rail networks, and newspaper coverage of lynchings in millions of issues across thousands of newspapers. I find that lynchings in counties with greater access to publicity (via rail networks) saw more and geographically dispersed coverage, that distant coverage was more critical, and that increased risk of media exposure may have reduced the incidence of lynching. I discuss how publicity could be a mechanism for strengthening or weakening justifications of violence in other contexts.

Segregation and the Cost of Money: Race, Poverty, and the Prevalence of Alternative Financial Institutions
Jacob William Faber
Social Forces, forthcoming

Payday lenders, check cashers, and other “alternative” financial services (AFS) have garnered attention from policymakers and advocates for the poor because they are more expensive than traditional banking — constituting what some call a “Ghetto Tax.” This is the first study to explore neighborhood-level AFS geography on the national scale. Leveraging a dataset comprising the universe of AFS in 2015, I show that not only are there substantial differences in AFS presence between white and non-white neighborhoods, but that these disparities are largest in the most segregated metropolitan areas. This finding supports theories that racial segregation creates easily identifiable markets for institutions to avoid, target, and exploit. I further show that while AFS presence declines with neighborhood income, the gap between black and white neighborhoods is widest among high-income neighborhoods, reflecting the unique vulnerability of even affluent blacks to institutional marginalization. This work documents how the overlapping geographies of racial isolation and AFS prevalence shape the very cost of money for different racial groups, illustrating the importance of institutions transmitting the effects of racial isolation.

Visualizing the Middle Passage: The Brooks and the Reality of Ship Crowding in the Transatlantic Slave Trade
Nicholas Radburn & David Eltis
Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Spring 2019, Pages 533-565

Crowding on slave ships was much more severe than historians have recognized, worsening in the nineteenth century during the illegal phase of the traffic. An analysis of numerous illustrations of slave vessels created by then-contemporary artists, in conjunction with new data, demonstrates that the 1789 diagram of the British slave ship Brooks — the most iconic of these illustrations — fails to capture the degree to which enslaved people were crowded on the Brooks, as well as on most other British slaving vessels of the eighteenth century. Five other images of slave ships sailing under different national colors in different eras further reveal the realities of ship crowding in different periods. The most accurate representation of ship-board conditions in the eighteenth-century slave trade is in the paintings of the French slave ship Marie-Séraphique.

Migration Constraints and Disparate Responses to Changing Job Opportunities
Kalee Burns & Julie Hotchkiss
Federal Reserve Working Paper, February 2019

Using the Current Population Survey between 1996 and 2018, this paper investigates the role constraints to migration might play in explaining racial/ethnic disparities in the labor market. The Delta Index of dissimilarity is used to illustrate a greater distributional mismatch between race/education specific workers and jobs among minorities relative to white non-Hispanics. Regression analysis then shows that this mismatch is consistent with minorities being less responsive to changes in the distribution of job opportunities. However, minorities are more responsive when the growing job opportunities are located in areas with greater same-racial/ethnic representation, suggesting that social constraints might play a role in the observed distributional mismatch. The analysis focuses on 25-54 year old men.

The Costs of High Self-Control in Black and Latino Youth with Asthma: Divergence of Mental Health and Inflammatory Profiles
Edith Chen et al.
Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, forthcoming

Emerging evidence in psychology suggests a paradox whereby high levels of self-control when striving for academic success among minority youth can have physical health costs. This study tested the skin-deep resilience hypothesis in asthma– whether minority youth who are striving hard to succeed academically experience good psychological outcomes but poor asthma outcomes. Youth physician-diagnosed with asthma (N=276, M age=12.99; 155=White, 121=Black/Latino) completed interviews about school stress and a self-control questionnaire. Outcomes included mental health (anxiety/depression) and ex-vivo immunologic processes relevant to asthma (lymphocyte Th-1 and Th-2 cytokine production, and sensitivity to glucocorticoid inhibition). Physician contacts were tracked over a one-year follow-up. For minority youth experiencing high levels of school stress, greater self-control was associated with fewer mental health symptoms (beta=-.20, p<.05), but worse asthma inflammatory profiles (larger Th-1 and Th-2 cytokine responses, lower sensitivity to glucocorticoid inhibition), and more frequent physician contacts during the one-year follow-up (beta’s ranging from .22 to .43, p’s<.05). These patterns were not evident in White youth. In minority youth struggling with school, high levels of self-control are detrimental to asthma inflammatory profiles and clinical outcomes. This suggests the need for health monitoring to be incorporated into academic programs to ensure that ‘overcoming the odds’ does not lead to heightened health risks in minority youth.

Gender Differences in the Dating Experiences of African American Young Adults: The Challenge of Forming Romantic Relationships Within the Context of Power Imbalance
Leslie Gordon Simons et al.
Youth & Society, forthcoming

Past research has documented that structural factors produce a skewed dating market in African American communities that advantages men over women. Using data collected from a sample of 495 African American young adults (55.8% women, Mage = 22), we tested the idea that African American men can be more selective when choosing dating partners than their female counterparts due to their power advantage. Consonant with this hypothesis, our results indicated that women who had characteristics consistent with men’s mate preferences were significantly more likely to be involved in dating relationships. However, there were no associations between the likelihood of men’s dating frequency or relationship status and whether they typified women’s mate preferences. These findings support the contention that, unlike their male counterparts, African American women may have to compromise their mate preferences and date less desirable partners due to the gendered power disadvantage in the dating market.

Health and criminal justice system involvement among African American siblings
Amber Beckley et al.
SSM - Population Health, January 2019

Methods: Subjects were drawn from the Carolina African American Twin Study of Aging (CAATSA). Criminal conviction records were extracted from North Carolina’s Department of Public Safety. Six measures of health and one measure of health risk were analyzed. The health of convicted respondents was compared to that of unrelated non-convicted respondents matched on childhood and demographic factors (“matched sample”). Convicted respondents were also compared to non-convicted siblings (“discordant sibling sample”).

Results: The matched sample included 134 CAATSA respondents. On average, convicted CAATSA respondents, compared to matched non-convicted respondents, were in worse health. Convicted respondents had worse mean self-reported health, worse lung function, more depressive symptoms, and smoked more. The discordant sibling sample included 74 respondents. Convicted siblings and non-convicted siblings had similar self-reported health, depressive symptoms, and smoking. In general, non-convicted siblings were in worse health than non-convicted respondents from the matched sample, implying that poor health runs in families.

How caring is “nullified”: Strong racial identity eliminates White participant empathy effects when police shoot an unarmed Black male
James Johnson & Len Lecci
Psychology of Violence, forthcoming

Method: 349 MTurk participants completed measures of racial identity and trait empathy, and then read a passage describing a White police officer shooting an unarmed stereotypical or counterstereotypical Black male victim. The victim’s conformity to racial stereotypes was manipulated as a potential moderator. Participants subsequently indicated whether the Black victim was perceived as a threat, whether the White police officer was viewed as racist, and the extent to which the victim should be blamed and compensated.

Results: At lower levels of White racial identity, there was less perceived victim threat, greater perceptions of officer racism, and more favorable victim responding for high empathic relative to low empathic participants. Conversely, at higher levels of racial identity, the impact of empathy was significantly diminished. This moderation effect only occurred when the victim conformed to common racial stereotypes.


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