Selected Articles

Kirk, David S., and Robert J. Sampson. 2013. “Juvenile Arrest and Collateral Educational Damage in the Transition to Adulthood.” Sociology of Education 86: 36–62. Publisher's Version Abstract
Official sanctioning of students by the criminal justice system is a long-hypothesized source of educational disadvantage, but its explanatory status remains unresolved. Few studies of the educational consequences of a criminal record account for alternative explanations such as low self-control, lack of parental supervision, deviant peers, and neighborhood disadvantage. Moreover, virtually no research on the effect of a criminal record has examined the ‘‘black box’’ of mediating mechanisms or the consequence of arrest for postsecondary educational attainment. Analyzing longitudinal data with multiple and independent assessments of theoretically relevant domains, the authors estimate the direct effect of arrest on later high school dropout and college enrollment for adolescents with otherwise equivalent neighborhood, school, family, peer, and individual characteristics as well as similar frequency of criminal offending. The authors present evidence that arrest has a substantively large and robust impact on dropping out of high school among Chicago public school students. They also find a significant gap in four-year college enrollment between arrested and otherwise similar youth without a criminal record. The authors also assess intervening mechanisms hypothesized to explain the process by which arrest disrupts the schooling process and, in turn, produces collateral educational damage. The results imply that institutional responses and disruptions in students’ educational trajectories, rather than social-psychological factors, are responsible for the arrest–education link.
Odgers, Candice L., Avshalom Caspi, Christopher Bates, Robert J. Sampson, and Terri Moffitt. 2012. “Systematic Social Observation of Children’s Neighborhoods Using Google Street View: A Reliable and Cost Effective Method.” Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 53: 1009-17. Publisher's Version Abstract


Children growing up in poor versus affluent neighborhoods are more likely to spend time in prison, develop health problems and die at an early age. The question of how neighborhood conditions influence our behavior and health has attracted the attention of public health officials and scholars for generations. Online tools are now providing new opportunities to measure neighborhood features and may provide a cost effective way to advance our understanding of neighborhood effects on child health.


A virtual systematic social observation (SSO) study was conducted to test whether Google Street View could be used to reliably capture the neighborhood conditions of families participating in the Environmental-Risk (E-Risk) Longitudinal Twin Study. Multiple raters coded a subsample of 120 neighborhoods and convergent and discriminant validity was evaluated on the full sample of over 1,000 neighborhoods by linking virtual SSO measures to: (a) consumer based geo-demographic classifications of deprivation and health, (b) local resident surveys of disorder and safety, and (c) parent and teacher assessments of children’s antisocial behavior, prosocial behavior, and body mass index.


High levels of observed agreement were documented for signs of physical disorder, physical decay, dangerousness and street safety. Inter-rater agreement estimates fell within the moderate to substantial range for all of the scales (ICCs ranged from .48 to .91). Negative neighborhood features, including SSO-rated disorder and decay and dangerousness corresponded with local resident reports, demonstrated a graded relationship with census-defined indices of socioeconomic status, and predicted higher levels of antisocial behavior among local children. In addition, positive neighborhood features, including SSO-rated street safety and the percentage of green space, were associated with higher prosocial behavior and healthy weight status among children.


Our results support the use of Google Street View as a reliable and cost effective tool for measuring both negative and positive features of local neighborhoods.

Sampson, Robert J. 2012. “Moving and the Neighborhood Glass Ceiling.” Science 337: 1464-1465. Click here for article
Sampson, Robert J. 2012. “When Things Aren't What They Seem: Context and Cognition in Appearance-Based Regulation.” Harvard Law Review Forum 125: 977-107.
Sampson_Harvard Law Review_May_2012.pdf
Sampson, Robert J. 2011. “The Incarceration Ledger: Toward a New Era in Assessing Societal Consequences.” Criminology and Public Policy 10: 819-828. Publisher's Version
Sampson, Robert J. 2011. “Neighborhood Effects, Causal Mechanisms, and the Social Structure of the City.” Analytical Sociology and Social Mechanisms, edited by Pierre Demeulenaere, 227-250. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press.
Sharkey, Patrick, and Robert J Sampson. 2010. “Destination Effects: Residential Mobility and Trajectories of Adolescent Violence in a Stratified Metropolis.” Criminology 48: 639-682.
Sampson, Robert J, and Charles Loeffler. 2010. “Punishment’s Place: The Local Concentration of Mass Incarceration.” Daedalus Summer: 20-31. Publisher's Version
Sampson, Robert J. 2010. “Gold Standard Myths: Observations on the Experimental Turn in Quantitative Criminology.” Journal of Quantitative Criminology 25: 489-500.
Graif, Corina, and Robert J Sampson. 2009. “Spatial Heterogeneity In the Effects of Immigration and Diversity on Neighborhood Homicide Rates.” Homicide Studies 13: 242-260. Publisher's Version
Sampson, Robert J. 2009. “Disparity and Diversity in the Contemporary City: Social (Dis)Order Revisited.” British Journal of Sociology 60: 1-31. Publisher's Version
Sampson, Robert J, Patrick Sharkey, and Stephen W Raudenbush. 2008. “Durable Effects of Concentrated Disadvantage on Verbal Ability Among African-American Children.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105: 845-852.
Sampson, Robert J, and Patrick Sharkey. 2008. “Neighborhood Selection and the Social Reproduction of Concentrated Racial Inequality.” Demography 45: 1-29.
Sampson, Robert J. 2008. “Rethinking Crime and Immigration.” Contexts 7: 28-33. Publisher's Version
Sampson, Robert J. 2008. “Moving to Inequality: Neighborhood Effects and Experiments Meet Social Structure.” American Journal of Sociology 114: 189-231.
Sampson, Robert J, Per-Olof Wikström, and Robert J Sampson. 2006. “How Does Community Context Matter? Social Mechanisms and the Explanation of Crime.” The Explanation of Crime: Context, Mechanisms, and Development, 31-60. New York and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Sampson, Robert J, and Lydia Bean. 2006. “Cultural Mechanisms and Killing Fields: A Revised Theory of Community-Level Racial Inequality.” The Many Colors of Crime: Inequalities of Race, Ethnicity and Crime in America, edited by Ruth Peterson, Lauren Krivo, and John Hagan. New York: New York University Press.
Sampson, Robert J, and Jeffrey D Morenoff. 2006. “Durable Inequality: Spatial Dynamics, Social Processes and the Persistence of Poverty in Chicago Neighborhoods.” Poverty Traps, edited by Samuel Bowles, Steve Durlauf, and Karla Hoff, 176-203. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Sampson, Robert J, John H Laub, and Christopher Wimer. 2006. “Does Marriage Reduce Crime? A Counterfactual Approach to Within-Individual Causal Effects.” Criminology 44: 465-508.
Sampson, Robert J. 2006. “Open Doors Don't Invite Criminals: Is Increased Immigration Behind the Drop in Crime?” New York Times, sec. Op-Ed.