Prisons and Mental Health: Violence, Organizational Support, and the Effects of Correctional Work (with Amy E. Lerman and Jessie Harney) in Criminal Justice and Behavior (forthcoming)

Correctional workers have a high likelihood of exposure to violence in the workplace. However, empirical literature has largely neglected the mental health consequences of prison work, as well as the institutional factors that might mitigate or exacerbate these effects. To fill this gap, we employ original survey data on thousands of correctional officers and explore the effects of exposure to violence on the job. We find strong associations with symptoms of PTSD, suicide risk, and symptoms of depression, alcohol abuse, anxiety, and sleep disorder. Importantly, we also find a potentially protective role of institutional factors, such as the quality of perceived supervisory support. In line with the Perceived Organizational Support (POS) model, our findings make clear that organizational support can moderate the deleterious effects of prison work.


“The Effect of Park Renovation on Civic Trust: A Survey Experimental Approach" (with Alan Potter) in The Journal of Urban Design (2018)

While urban planners often cite public park revitalization as a means of improving community civic trust, there is limited research that verifies this practice. To address this gap, this study utilizes a survey experiment with Miami-Dade County residents living near a park undergoing renovation. The study finds that informing people about the renovation can increase civic trust relative to not informing them. The benefits of this research are twofold: the survey experiment methodology serves as a cost- effective means of comparing design elements while the findings confirm and extend conventional wisdom regarding the effect of park revitalization on civic trust.


Political Partisanship and Policy Uptake: Field Experimental Evidence from Obamacare” (with Amy E. Lerman and Samuel Trachtman) in American Political Science Review (2017)

In this study, we examine the case of the Affordable Care Act to illustrate that policy uptake is not just about considerations like information and incentives; it is also about political ideology. Using descriptive data, we find that Republicans are much less likely than Democrats to have purchased health insurance through either a state or federal insurance exchange, all else equal. However, we also find evidence that uptake can be increased through policy framing. Employing a large-scale field experiment, we show that emphasizing the role of private industry (as opposed to the role of government) can significantly increase enrollment among Republicans. Our findings make clear that policy uptake is an important form of political behavior, which has direct implications for individual outcomes.

“They’re Not Worthy: The Perceived Deservingness of the Rich and Its Connection to Redistributive Policy Preferences” for inclusion in The Social Legitimacy of Targeted Welfare: New Perspectives on Popular Welfare Deservingness Opinion (2017)

The "Mill Worker's Son" Heuristic: How Voters Perceive Politicians from Working-class Families—and How They Really Behave in Office with Nick Carnes in Journal of Politics (2015).


Politicians often highlight how hard their families had it when they were growing up, presumably in the hopes that voters will see them as more supportive of policies that benefit middle- and working-class Americans. What do voters actually infer about a candidate’s policy positions from how a candidate was raised? And what should they infer? Using both experimental data and data on lawmakers' roll call behavior, we find that although voters consistently infer that politicians from less privileged families are more economically progressive, those politicians don’t actually stand out on standard measures of legislative voting.


Media: The New York TimesPacific StandardThe Week, and DecodeDC


Stereotyping or Projection? How White and Black Voters Estimate Candidates' Ideology with Amy E. Lerman in Political Psychology (2014).


In studying the electoral fortunes of black candidates, scholars have almost exclusively focused on white voters' attitudes. In this paper, we employ a set of randomized experiments and nationally representative survey data to examine how both black and white voters evaluate the ideology of racially diverse candidates. In contrast to previous research, we find mixed and inconsistent evidence that white voters stereotype black candidates as being more liberal than white candidates. However, we find that black voters—particularly those who identify as politically conservative—project their own ideology onto black candidates. 





Ideological Variation in the Effects of Skin Color on Candidate Evaluations with Amy E. Lerman and Katie McCabe forthcoming in Public Opinion Quarterly (2015).


We detail a set of randomized experiments that examine the role of political ideology in shaping black voters’ evaluations of political candidates’ race and skin tone. Our findings challenge simplistic notions of black preference for descriptive representation. Instead, we argue that race matters to how black Americans evaluate candidates for political office, but that it does so in combination with both candidates’ skin tone and voters’ ideology.

Assembly: Civic Design Guidelines with The Center for Active Design (2018)


The Assembly Guidelines capture the culmination of four years of research and collaboration—with input from 200+ studies, 50+ cities, and dozens of expert advisors—to provide evidence-based design and maintenance strategies for creating cities where people trust each other, have confidence in local institutions, and actively work together to address local priorities.

"If You Build It, They Might Not Come: Animating City Spaces" in CityLab (2018)

Why do revamped areas remain barren after so much thought and money are put into redesigning them? A study in Charlotte, North Carolina, offers clues.





"Campaigning with Class: The Effect of Candidate Wealth on Voters' Evaluations" (2016)

Most candidates are much wealthier than the people they aim to represent. Do Americans care? Or are voters content to elect people who are much better off than they are? I present evidence from four survey experiments that manipulate the social class of hypothetical political candidates. I show that people are less likely to vote for a wealthy candidate when his wealth is tied to big business or explicitly compared to that of average Americans’. This finding holds true regardless of the respondent’s partisan identification and regardless of the candidate’s party. I also find that a candidate’s current class is only part of the story as voters are also less likely to vote for a candidate with privileged upbringings. This study provides the first investigation that illustrates that a candidate’s social class resonates with voters.