Archive for the 'Culture, Values and Attitudes' Category

Lynchings in America

lynchings_map

[click here for link to NYT graphic]

The Equal Justice Initiative has documented 4,000 lynchings in the South between 1870 and 1950. This resource is potentially useful for examining out-migration of blacks, particularly men, from the South during this era. It could also be useful for explaining current race-based inequalities, including incarceration.

Lynching in America: Confronting the Legacy of Racial Terror
Summary Report | Equal Justice Initiative
February 2015

Supplement: Lynchings by County [pdf only]

Note that the graphic by the New York Times has a time-dimension in it. I am awaiting the full report from the Equal Justice Initiative to see what additional detail is available in it.

Press Coverage [scroll down]

Diminishing Returns of Incarceration

In an article for the FiveThirtyEight website, Oliver Roeder discusses a report he co-authored with Lauren-Brooke Eisen and Julia Bowling for the Brennan Center for Justice which examines the limited effect of incarceration on crime rates.

Report abstract:

What Caused the Crime Decline? examines one of the nation’s least understood recent phenomena – the dramatic decline in crime nationwide over the past two decades – and analyzes various theories for why it occurred, by reviewing more than 40 years of data from all 50 states and the 50 largest cities. It concludes that over-harsh criminal justice policies, particularly increased incarceration, which rose even more dramatically over the same period, were not the main drivers of the crime decline. In fact, the report finds that increased incarceration has been declining in its effectiveness as a crime control tactic for more than 30 years. Its effect on crime rates since 1990 has been limited, and has been non-existent since 2000.

More important were various social, economic, and environmental factors, such as growth in income and an aging population. The introduction of CompStat, a data-driven policing technique, also played a significant role in reducing crime in cities that introduced it.

The report concludes that considering the immense social, fiscal, and economic costs of mass incarceration, programs that improve economic opportunities, modernize policing practices, and expand treatment and rehabilitation programs, all could be a better public safety investment.

FiveThirtyEight article, The Imprisoner’s Dilemma
Brennan Center for Justice Report, What Caused the Crime Decline?

The Gap in Public and Scientist’s Views on Science and Society

The Pew Research Center explores the differences between the ways scientists and the public view science and society.

Read the full article
Complete report (PDF)
Topline Questionnaire (PDF)
Interactive graphs

More fun with names

Who knew that the name Violet was such a good example of a bi-modal distribution?

bi-modal

This was drawn from a very fun post:

How to Tell Someone’s Age When All You Know is Her Name
Nate Silver and Allison McCann | FiveThirtyEight blog
May 29, 2014

We had a previous post on fun with the Social Security names database.

This age of names example is a great applied demography exercise – calculating the median age of names. For that you’ll need a link to the full names database and cohort life tables:

Beyond the Top 1000 Names
Cohort Life Tables for the Social Security Areas by Calendar Year

Here’s also a nice link to some Big Data exercises via Python. There is a lot of code sharing in this GitHub repository.

Chicago’s Summer Jobs Program Lowers Violent Crime Rate

By: Emily Badger
Via: Wonkblog

A couple of years ago, the city of Chicago started a summer jobs program for teenagers attending high schools in some of the city’s high-crime, low-income neighborhoods. The program was meant, of course, to connect students to work. But officials also hoped that it might curb the kinds of problems — like higher crime — that arise when there’s no work to be found.

Read the rest of the article
Research on the program was conducted by the University of Chicago Crime Lab and published in the journal Science.

Alcohol’s Hold on Campus: Report from the Chronicle of Higher Education

Alcohol is an entrenched reality of campus life. Read and share this collection of articles on college drinking to inform colleagues and campus discussions, beginning with “A River of Booze: Inside one college town’s uneasy embrace of drinking” by Karin Fischer and Eric Hoover.

Rethinking Parole

By: Jessica Glazer
Source: FiveThirtyEight

Parole conditions vary widely from state to state and case to case. As states attempt to reduce their prison populations, and as the number of parolees grows — now up to more than 851,000 people nationally — advocates are increasingly concerned that parole rules can be too restrictive for the average parolee, making it too easy to end up behind bars again for technical violations. As states contend with the high cost of incarceration and use parole to cut costs, advocates are calling for consistency in how it’s deployed.

Read the full story

Political Science: A self-inflicted wound?

Stanford University and Dartmouth have sent an open apology letter to the state of Montana for a voting experiment conducted by political scientists at their respective institutions. The study had IRB approval, at least from Dartmouth. It uses a database of ideological scores based on donors to identify the political affiliation of judges. See this Upshot article on the start-up company, Crowdpac, that developed this database. Montana is quite irritated with the use of the state of Montana seal on the mailer. Did that get through the IRB?

The letters:

Senator John Tester’s letter to Stanford & Dartmouth | The apology letter

Messing with Montana: Get-out-the -Vote Experiment Raises Ethics Questions
Melissa R. Michelson | The New West (blog of the Western Political Science Association)
October 25, 2014

Today, the Internet exploded with news about and reactions to a get-out-the-vote field experiment fielded by three political science professors that may have broken Montana state law and, at a minimum, called into question the ethics of conducting experiments that might impact election results.

Professors’ Research Project Stirs Political Outrage in Montana
Derek Willis | NY Times
October 28, 2014

Universities say they regret sending Montana voters election mailers criticized for being misleading
Hunter Schwarz | The Washington Post
October 29, 2014

The Economics of Parenting

By: Roberto A. Ferdman
Source: Wonkblog (Washington Post)

Strict parents — the sort who practice an authoritarian form of parenting that restricts children’s choices — are more common in countries with high inequality, according to a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research. The study used the World Value Survey to measure whether parents in different countries care more about qualities desired by stricter parents, like “hard work” and “obedience,” or qualities desired more by passive parents, like “imagination” and “independence.

It found that the more unequal a society, the more likely people were to favor strict parenting.

Wonkblog post
NBER Working Paper (PDF)

Fewer Marriages, More Divergence: Marriage Projections for Millennials to Age 40

By: Steven Martin, Nan Astone, Elizabeth Peters
Source: Urban Institute

Abstract:

Declining marriage rates suggest a growing fraction of millennials will remain unmarried through age 40. In this brief, we use data from the American Community Survey to estimate age-specific marriage rates and project the percentage of millennials who will marry by age 40 in different scenarios. We find that the percentage of millennials marrying by age 40 will fall lower than for any previous generation of Americans, even in a scenario where marriage rates recover considerably. Moreover, marriage patterns will continue to diverge by education and race, increasing the divides between mostly married “haves” and increasingly single “have-nots”.

Download full report