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David James Harding

Faculty Director, Social Sciences D-Lab; and Sociology Professor, University of California-Berkeley
Chapter Member: Bay Area SSN
Areas of Expertise:

About David

Harding's research focuses on inequality, poverty, urban neighborhoods, education, culture, criminal justice and prisoner reentry. Overarching themes in Harding's writings include the ways in which growing up in high poverty neighborhoods affect children and adolescents and the role of the criminal justice system in increasing and perpetuating social inequalities.


"A Natural Experiment Study of the Effects of Imprisonment on Violence in the Community" (with Jeffrey D. Morenoff, Anh P. Nguyen, Shawn D. Bushway, and Ingrid A. Binswanger ). Nature Human Behaviour 3 (2019): 671-677.

Examines the effect of imprisonment on violent crime in the community among individuals on the policy margin between prison and probation sentences. Finds being sentenced to prison had no significant effects on arrests or convictions for violent crimes after release from prison, but imprisonment modestly reduced the probability of violence if comparisons included the effects of incapacitation during imprisonment.

On the Outside: Prisoner Reentry and Reintegration (with Jeffrey D. Morenoff and Jessica J.B. Wyse) (University of Chicago Press, forthcoming).

Studies prisoner reentry and reintegration based on qualitative interviews and administrative data. Argues there is a mismatch between the contemporary social, economic, and policy environment and the needs and resources of the formerly incarcerated.

"Imprisonment and Labor Market Outcomes: Evidence from a Natural Experiment" (with Jeffrey D. Morenoff, Anh P. Nguyen, and Shawn D. Bushway). American Journal of Sociology 124, no. 1 (July 2018): 49-110.

Studies the effects of imprisonment as compared to probation on employment outcomes. Shows that most effects of imprisonment are due to incapacitation while in prison rather than effects after release, as only whites with a work history experience post-release effects.

"Custodial Parole Sanctions and Earnings after Release from Prison" (with Jonah A. Siegel and Jeffrey D. Morenoff). Social Forces 96, no. 2 (December 2017): 909-934.

Studies the employment effects of custodial parole sanctions. Shows significant long-term effects of custodial sanctions for parole violations.

"The Short- and Long-Term Effects of Imprisonment on Future Felony Convictions and Prison Admissions" (with Jeffrey D. Morenoff, Anh P. Nguyen, and Shawn D. Bushway). PNAS 114, no. 42 (2017): 11103-11108.

Studies the effect of imprisonment compared to probation on recidivism. Shows the importance of parole violations for returns to prison and prison's revolving door, as well as the magnitude of the incapacitation effect of imprisonment.

"Homelessness and Housing Insecurity among Former Prisoners" (with Claire W. Herbert and Jeffrey D. Morenoff). RSF 1, no. 2 (2015): 44-79.

Studies housing insecurity and homelessness among formerly incarcerated individuals. Shows extremely high rates of residential instability and the role of the criminal justice system in contributing to housing insecurity.

Living the Drama (University of Chicago Press, 2010).

Studies the role of neighborhood culture and violence in the lives of adolescent boys in three neighborhoods in Boston.