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David Dagan

PhD Candidate, Niskansen Center
Areas of Expertise:

About David

Dagan’s research focuses on the politics of criminal justice. His current projects include a study of capital punishment in advanced democracies and, with Professor Steven Teles of Johns Hopkins University, a book on conservative criminal-justice reformers.


How Unlikely Allies Can Roll Back America's Prison Boom

    Steven M. Teles

No Jargon Podcast

In the News

"How Far Can Jeff Sessions Take His Crime War?," David Dagan, The New Republic, May 22, 2017.
"Why Criminal Justice Reform Isn't Dead Yet," David Dagan, Vox, September 25, 2015.


"The Social Construction of Negative Feedback: Incarceration, Conservatism and Policy Change," (with Steven M. Teles), American Political Science Association and Policy History Conference, 2012.
Argues that the success or failure of earlier policy choices is too often assumed to be self-evident. In fact, it is frequently subjective and susceptible to framing by activists. In a polarized environment, effective framing speaks to ideological principles rather than assuming a centrist posture.
"Locked In? Conservative Reform and the Future of Mass Incarceration" (with Steven M. Teles). The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 651, no. 1 (2014): 266-276.
Argues that mass incarceration, long subject to self-entrenching effects, may be entering a cycle in which it undermines itself. Finds that, in order to seriously shrink the prison population, conservatives will have to accept the construction of alternative government structures; liberals will have to accept that these will remain more paternalistic than they might like.