Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Three essays on social inequality and the U.S. criminal justice system
by Roettger, Michael Everett, Ph.D., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2008, 225; 3315700
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation uses three essays to examine issues related to inequality and the U.S. criminal justice system.

In the first essay, I examine links between arrest, residential segregation, and immigration within U.S. metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs). This research addresses two separate, but contemporary fields of research where (a) increased crime is associated with highly segregated urban black ghettoes and (b) decreased crime is observed among immigrant groups. Data for race and ethnic populations for MSAs are aggregated from 5% integrated public-use micro-samples [IPUMS] of the U.S. Census surveys from 1980–2000; data for arrest rates are taken from FBI Uniform Crime Reports from 1980-2000. Results from fixed effect models find statistically significant results indicating (i) African American social isolation positively correlates with arrest rates and (ii) immigrant groups are differentially correlated with arrest rates based on immigrant race and ethnic classification.

In the second essay, I examine the effects of race and history of incarceration on employment among less-skilled men. Recent findings of audit and employer surveys have found that African Americans and ex-offenders are groups who, respectively, are less likely to be hired than whites and non-offenders. Expanding on prior research, I use data from the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth to test if labor force participation and unemployment are jointly impacted by race and history of incarceration. To control for unobserved invariant characteristics of individuals and interview periods, I utilize fixed effect error terms at the individual level. Results indicate that, relative to whites, African American and Hispanic ex-felons are more likely to experience persisting unemployment and time out of the labor force in years after incarceration.

In the third essay, I examine how genetic, individual, familial, and community-level variables possibly mediate a link between father's incarceration and adult son's deviance and arrest. Using twin and nationally-representative sub-samples from the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health, I test how molecular genetic, individual, familial, and community variables from adolescence may mediate this link. In analysis, father's incarceration is found to be robustly associated with increased delinquency and arrest among adult sons when these effects are estimated.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Mouw, Theodore
Commitee: Griffin, Larry J., Guo, Guang, Harris, Kathleen M., Land, Kenneth C.
School: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Department: Sociology
School Location: United States -- North Carolina
Source: DAI-A 69/07, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Criminology, Public policy, Social structure
Keywords: Crime and inequality, Criminal justice, Social inequality
Publication Number: 3315700
ISBN: 978-0-549-67099-5
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