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Room 423
Baker Hall
100 Tower Parkway

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Selected Publications

  • 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. Accepted at Journal of Politics.
    Political scientists regularly measure anti-Black prejudice in the survey context using racial resentment, an indirect measure that blends racial animus with traditional moral values. Explicit prejudice, a direct measure based in beliefs about the group-level inferiority of Blacks, is used less frequently. We investigate whether 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 whites engaged in anti-Black discrimination. Explicit prejudice explained which whites discriminated whereas resentment did not. In Study 2, white third-party observers evaluated intergroup interactions in the UG and explicit prejudice explained racially biased fairness evaluations, but resentment did not. This demonstrates that resentment and prejudice are distinct constructs, and that explicit prejudice has clear behavioral implications. We also find that explicit prejudice is widespread among white Americans and significantly less partisan than resentment.
  • Does Trust in Government Increase Support for Redistribution? Evidence from Randomized Survey Experiments

    Forthcoming at American Political Science Review.
    Why have decades of high and rising inequality in the United States not increased public support for redistribution? An established theory in political science holds that Americans’ distrust of government decreases their support for redistribution, but empirical support draws primarily on regression analyses of national surveys. I discuss the untestable assumptions required for identification with regression modeling and propose an alternative design that uses randomized experiments about political corruption to identify the effect of trust in government on support for redistribution under weaker assumptions. I apply this to three survey experiments and estimate the effects that large, experimentally-induced increases in political trust have on support for redistribution. Contrary to theoretical predictions, estimated effects are substantively negligible, statistically indistinguishable from zero, and comparable to estimates from two placebo experiments. I discuss implications for theory-building about causes of support for redistribution in an era of rising inequality and eroding confidence in government.

Statistical Software

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

Last updated April 2020.