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87 Trumbull Street, Room C321
Institution for Social and Policy Studies
Yale University

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Selected Manuscripts

  • A field experiment on community policing and police legitimacy

    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2019
    Despite decades of declining crime rates, longstanding tensions between police and the public continue to frustrate the formation of cooperative relationships necessary for the function of the police and the provision of public safety. In response, policy makers continue to promote community-oriented policing (COP) and its emphasis on positive, non-enforcement contact with the public as an effective strategy for enhancing public trust and police legitimacy. Prior research designs, however, have not leveraged the random assignment of police-public contact to identify the causal effect of such interactions on individual-level attitudes toward the police. Therefore, the question remains: Do positive, non-enforcement interactions with uniformed patrol officers actually cause meaningful improvements in attitudes toward the police? Here, we report on a randomized field experiment conducted in New Haven, CT, that sheds light on this question and identifies the individual-level consequences of positive, non-enforcement contact between police and the public. Findings indicate that a single instance of positive contact with a uniformed police officer can substantially improve public attitudes toward police, including legitimacy and willingness to cooperate. These effects persisted for up to 21 d and were not limited to individuals inclined to trust and cooperate with the police prior to the intervention. This study demonstrates that positive non-enforcement contact can improve public attitudes toward police and suggests that police departments would benefit from an increased focus on strategies that promote positive police-public interactions.
  • Racial Resentment, Prejudice, and Discrimination

    with Gregory Huber. Revise & Resubmit at Journal of Politics.
    Political scientists often measure anti-black prejudice using racial resentment, which blends anti-black animus with traditional moral values. Explicit prejudice, an “overt” attitude based in beliefs about group- level inferiority of blacks, is used less frequently. We use two experiments to investigate how these attitudes predict anti-black discrimination and evaluations of the fairness of intergroup inequality. Study 1 used the Ultimatum Game (UG) to obtain a behavioral measure of racial discrimination and found white responders engaged in costly discrimination against black proposers. Explicit prejudice explained which whites discriminated whereas racial resentment did not. In Study 2, white third-party observers evaluated intergroup interactions in the UG. Explicit prejudice explained racially biased evaluations of the fairness of offers by blacks to whites, but racial resentment did not. These results show resentment and prejudice are not synonymous and that explicit prejudice has clear behavioral implications.
  • Does Trust in Government Increase Support for Redistribution? Evidence from Randomized Survey Experiments

    Revise & Resubmit at American Political Science Review.
    Why isn't there more support for redistribution in the United States? Political scientists have theorized that low trust in government depresses support for redistribution, but empirical support for this theory draws largely on regression analyses of survey data. I clarify the untestable assumptions required for identification with regression modeling and describe an alternative design that uses randomized experiments about political corruption to estimate the effect of trust in government on support for redistribution under weaker assumptions. I apply this approach to data from three independent survey experiments (N = 3,741) to estimate the impact that large experimentally-induced increases in political trust have on support for redistribution. Contrary to theoretical predictions, I find estimated effects that are statistically indistinguishable from zero, suggesting trust in government has a substantively negligible impact on Americans' redistributive policy preferences.

Statistical Software

  • icsw R package to estimate average treatment effects under non-compliance using inverse compliance score weighting

Recent Publications

  • Enforcing Compulsory Schooling Through Credible Coercion: Lesson's from Australia's Northern Territory Intervention

    The Economic Record, 2018, 94(306): 223–238.
    Australia's Northern Territory Emergency Response and subsequent School Enrolment and Attendance Measure (SEAM) credibly threatened to remove welfare benefits from Indigenous families if their children failed to attend school regularly. A difference‐in‐difference analysis of participation rates in the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy shows a substantial increase in participation rates the year after SEAM was implemented. However, administrators rarely carried out the threatened sanctions, and these initial gains largely dissipated in subsequent years. This unique episode illustrates the limited scope for promoting Indigenous school participation through conditional cash penalties.
  • What Do We Learn From an Equivalence Study Without Statistical Power?

    The Annals of Emergency Medicine, 2018, 72(2): 223–224.
    We read with interest the article by Linden et al that claims to provide evidence to support the safety of omitting a pelvic examination in women with a confirmed intrauterine pregnancy. In light of previous studies questioning the utility of the pelvic examination, this trial addresses a critical question for patients with threatened abortion. We commend the authors for conducting the largest randomized trial on pelvic examinations to date, but several methodological issues raise questions about whether clinicians can make reliable inferences from this study.
Last updated October 18, 2019.