Working Papers

Encouraging desistance from crime

Current draft: February 2019.

Previously circulated as: “Strategies to productively reincorporate the formerly-incarcerated into communities: A review of the literature.” 2018. IZA Discussion Paper No. 11646.


Media coverage: BloombergNPR’s Planet Money

Algorithmic Risk Assessment Tools in the Hands of Humans (with Megan Stevenson).

First draft: September 2018. Current draft: January 2019. Available upon request.

Testing, Stress, and Performance: How Students Respond Physiologically to High-Stakes Testing (with Jennifer Heissel, Emma Adam, David Figlio, and Jonathan Meer).

First draft: February 2018. Current draft: November 2018.

Media coverage: Chalkbeat

The Moral Hazard of Lifesaving Innovations: Naloxone Access, Opioid Abuse, and Crime (with Anita Mukherjee). IZA Discussion Paper No. 11489.

First draft: March 2017. Current draft: September 2018.

Response to criticism

Media coverage: The AtlanticWashington Post, The Times, Globe and Mail, Forbes, Buzzfeed, Wall Street Journal, CNN, STAT, Radio Health Journal, Hidden Brain podcast

The effects of DNA databases on the deterrence and detection of offenders (with Anne Sofie Tegner Anker and Rasmus Landersø).

First draft: March 2016. Current draft: December 2017.

Media coverage: Washington Post

How do state crime policies affect other states? The externalities of state DNA database laws 

First draft: April 2016. Current draft: December 2016.

Data on state DNA database size 

A Promising Alternative: How Making College Free Affects Teens’ Risky Behaviors (with Chloe Gibbs).

First draft: November 2014. Current draft: May 2016.

Peer-Reviewed Publications

The unintended consequences of “ban the box”: Statistical discrimination and employment outcomes when criminal histories are hidden (with Benjamin Hansen). Accepted, Journal of Labor Economics.

Preprint version: August 2018.

Previously circulated as: “Does ‘ban the box’ help or hurt low-skilled workers? Statistical discrimination and employment outcomes when criminal histories are hidden”: NBER Working Paper No. 22469

NBER Digest summary

Media coverage: Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, Overlawyered, Vox (here and here), McClatchy News (published by several local papers), Weekly Standard, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Houston Chronicle, Pacific Standard, Fusion (here and here), The Atlantic, Michigan radio’s State of Opportunity, The Economist, NBC 29, UVA Today, Human Resource Executive Online, The Guardian, Politico (here and here), American Interest, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Governing, Washington Times, National Review, American Prospect, Bloomberg, Sacramento Bee, Boston Globe, Quartz, Stateline, WMRA, NPR’s Planet Money

Keep the Kids Inside? Juvenile Curfews and Urban Gun Violence (with Jillian B. Carr). Review of Economics and Statistics, 100(4): 609-618.

Preprint version: June 2017.

ShotSpotter data

Media coverage: Marginal Revolution, Vox, FiveThirtyEight, NewsweekWashington Post, Wall Street Journal, NewsRadio WINA, WBEZ Chicago, The Guardian

The Effects of DNA Databases on Crime. 2017. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 9(1): 165-201.

Preprint version: August 2016.
Online appendix

Data on state DNA database size

Media coverage: UVA Today, NBC 29, The Daily Beast,, BBC, Police Professional (subscription only), WMRA’s Virginia Insight (radio interview), Maryland v. King Supreme Court briefs (Petitioner and LA County amicus), NY Times, Boston Globe

Under the Cover of Darkness: How Ambient Light Influences Criminal Behavior (with Nicholas J. Sanders). 2015. Review of Economics and Statistics, 97(5), 1093-1103.


The data used in this paper are available on Dataverse

Media and policy coverage: Next CityNPR Morning Edition, Vox, National Geographic, Washington Post, CNN, Washington Examiner, Mother Jones, Popular Mechanics, Gizmodo, Christian Science Monitor, Significance Magazine, BBC, Report of the Special Commission on the Commonwealth’s Time Zone (Massachusetts legislature)

The Visible Hand: Race and Online Market Outcomes (with Luke C.D. Stein). 2013. Economic Journal, 123(572), F469-F492.


Media coverage: NY Times Freakonomics blog, Stanford Report, Wall Street Journal Real Time Economics blog, USA Today, Financial Times, a radio interview on Crosscurrents (KALW), Daily Mail, UVA Today, The Root, NY Times, Financial Times

Other Publications

“Evidence-Based Policy” Should Reflect a Hierarchy of Evidence. 2019. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 38(2): 517-519.

Preprint version: December 2018.

Wrap-Around Services Don’t Improve Prisoner Reentry Outcomes. 2019. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 38(2): 508-514.

Preprint version: November 2018.

The Roadblock to Reform (with Megan T. Stevenson). 2018. American Constitution Society research report.

Moving to job opportunities? The effect of ‘Ban the Box’ on the composition of cities (with Benjamin Hansen). 2017. American Economic Review (P&P), 107(5): 556-559.

Preprint version: January 2017.

Increasing employment for individuals with criminal records. 2016. The Hamilton Project.

The geography, incidence, and underreporting of gun violence: new evidence using ShotSpotter data (with Jillian B. Carr). 2016. Brookings Research Paper.

Maps of criminal activity

ShotSpotter data

Media coverage: UVA Today, NewsRadio WINA, Daily Mail, Washington Post, Vox, Wisconsin Public Radio, Seattle Times, Forbes, Undark Magazine, The Atlantic

Works in Progress

Temperature and gun violence (with Jonathan Colmer)

Safer Grounds: measuring the impacts of safety concerns on academic engagement (with Sophie Trawalter) — for more information, see