Research Interests

My primary research interests are the study of criminal behavior over the life course, neighborhood effects on well being, and the social structure of cities. I have sought to provide new ways of measuring and conceptualizing community-level mechanisms related to collective efficacy, civic engagement, social disorder, and other emergent processes. To support this inquiry my colleagues and I have developed survey and video-based approaches to "eco-metric" measurement. Current applications involve multi-level models of how concentrated racial inequality is produced and its social consequences for both individual lives and neighborhood dynamics. This work stems from the "Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods," for which I serve as Scientific Director. I have also been engaged for 2 decades on a longitudinal study from birth to death of 1,000 disadvantaged men born in Boston during the Great Depression era. Two books from this project-Crime in the Making: Pathways and Turning Points Through Life (1993) and Shared Beginnings, Divergent Lives: Delinquent Boys to Age 70 (2003), provide a long-term analysis of continuity and change in multiple life domains. A central finding is that the prospective ability of childhood factors to predict trajectories of adult development is much weaker than commonly believed.

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Section 53: Social and Political Sciences