Joscha Legewie

Assistant Professor of Sociology

Yale University

eiwegel.ahcsoj@yalesdsr223@nyu.edu.edu
Download CV

Employment

Assistant Professor of Sociology
Yale University, 2016-Present

Assistant Professor of Sociology of Education
New York University, 2014-2016

Education

Ph.D. Sociology, Columbia University, 2013

M.A. Sociology, Columbia University, 2010

B.A. Social Science, HU-Berlin, 2006

Selected Publications

Legewie, Joscha (2016): Racial Profiling and Use of Force in Police Stops: How Local Events Trigger Periods of Increased Discrimination. American Journal of Sociology 122 (2): 379–424 [PDF]

Legewie, Joscha and Merlin Schaeffer (2016): Contested Boundaries: Explaining Where and When Ethno-Racial Diversity Provokes Neighborhood Conflict. American Journal of Sociology 122 (1): 125–161 [PDF]

Legewie, Joscha and Thomas DiPrete (2014): The High School Environment and the Gender Gap in Science and Engineering. Sociology of Education 87 (4): 259-280 [PDF]

Legewie, Joscha and Thomas DiPrete (2014): Pathways to Science and Engineering Bachelor's Degrees for Men and Women. Sociological Science 1: 41-48 [PDF]

Legewie, Joscha (2013): Terrorist Events and Attitudes toward immigrants: A Natural Experiment. American Journal of Sociology 118 (5): 1199-1245 [PDF]

Legewie, Joscha and Thomas DiPrete (2012): School Context and the Gender Gap in Educational Achievement. American Sociological Review 77(3): 463-485 [PDF]

Legewie, Joscha (2012): Die Schätzung von kausalen Effekten: Überlegungen zu Methoden der Kausalanalyse anhand von Kontexteffekten in der Schule. Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie 64 (1): 123–153 [PDF]

Legewie, Joscha and Heike Solga (2012): Social Class – An Extension or Critique to "Return to Education"? Comment on Bukodi and Goldthorpe. Longitudinal and Life Course Studies 3 (2): 285-296.

Legewie, Joscha and Thomas DiPrete (2009): Family Determinants of the Changing Gender Gap in Educational Attainment: A Comparison of the U.S. and Germany. Journal of Applied Social Science Studies (Schmollers Jahrbuch) 129 (2): 1-13. [PDF]

Legewie, Joscha (2008): Zum Einfluss der regionalen Arbeitslosigkeit auf Einstellungen zur sozialen Gerechtigkeit. Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie 60 (2): 287-314.

Legewie, Joscha and Arno Simons (2008): Zur Rationalität von Selbstmordattentätern. Überlegungen zur Anwendung von Rational-Choice Theorien. In: S. Shikano, T. Bräuninger, J. Behnke (Eds.), Jahrbuch für Handlungs- und Entscheidungstheorie, Vol. 5. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag.

My Research

My research agenda focuses on social inequality/stratification, race/ethnicity, quantitative methods, education, urban sociology, and computational social science. Across these different substantive fields, my work is motivated by a theoretical interest in the role of the social, spatial, and temporal context for various outcomes. It examines how peer groups, schools, neighborhoods, and the sequencing of events produce macro patterns of social inequality and influence the relations between social groups. It builds on rigorous causal inference based on natural or quasi-experimental research designs with a keen interest in "big data" as a promising source for future social science research.


Racial Profiling and Use of Force in Police Stops: How Local Events Trigger Periods of Increased Discrimination

American Journal of Sociology 122 (2): 379–424

PDF


Racial profiling and the disproportionate use of police force are controversial political issues. I argue that racial bias in the use of force increases after relevant events such as the shooting of a police officer by a black suspect. To examine this argument, I design a natural experiment using data from 3.9 million time and geo-coded pedestrian stops in New York City. The findings show that two fatal shootings of police officers by black suspects increased the use police force against blacks substantially in the days after the shootings. The use of force against whites and Hispanics, however, remained unchanged and there is no evidence for an effect of two other police murders by a white and Hispanic suspect. Aside from the importance for the debate on racial profiling and police use of force, this research reveals a general set of processes where events trigger discriminatory responses.

Previously titled "Racial Profiling in Stop-and-Frisk Operations: How Local Events Trigger Periods of Increased Discrimination".

Read More


Contested Boundaries: Explaining Where Ethno-Racial Diversity Provokes Neighborhood Conflict

American Journal of Sociology 122 (1): 125–161

PDF


Concerns about neighborhood erosion and conflict in ethnically diverse settings occupy scholars, policy makers, and pundits alike; but the empirical evidence is inconclusive. This article proposes the contested boundaries hypothesis as a refined contextual explanation focused on poorly defined boundaries between ethnic and racial groups. The authors argue that neighborhood conflict is more likely to occur at fuzzy boundaries defined as interstitial or transitional areas sandwiched between two homogeneous communities. Edge detection algorithms from computer vision and image processing allow them to identify these boundaries. Data from 4.7 million time- and geo-coded 311 service requests from New York City support their argument: complaints about neighbors making noise, drinking in public, or blocking the driveway are more frequent at fuzzy boundaries rather than crisp, polarized borders. By focusing on the broader sociospatial structure, the contested boundaries hypothesis overcomes the "aspatial" treatment of neighborhoods as isolated areas in research on ethnic diversity.

Read More | Visualization of 311 Complaints


Terrorist Events and Attitudes toward immigrants:
A Natural Experiment

American Journal of Sociology 118 (5): 1199-1245

PDF


Around 11pm on October the 12th, 2002, a terrorist entered the nightclub Paddy's Pub on Kuta, a remote Indonesian island, and ignited his explosive-laden backpack. With a death toll of 202, the terror attack in Bali appeared on the front pages of newspapers around the world. In this paper, I use the Bali terror attack to construct a quasi-experimental research design, and examine the effect of terrorist events on the perception of immigrants across 65 regions in nine European countries. My findings have important implications for societal responses to terror attacks, the literature on attitudes toward immigrants, and survey research.

Read More


School Context and the Gender Gap in Educational Achievement

American Sociological Review 77 (3): 463-485

PDF


As part of my dissertation project, this paper argues that the school context shapes the ways in which masculinity is constructed and performed so that boys are more sensitive to certain school resources. We use a quasi-experimental research design to evaluate this argument, and estimate the the causal effect of peer SES by gender. This design is based on the assumption that the assignment of students to classes within Berlin schools is as good as random, which we evaluate based on school regulations, simulation analysis, and qualitative interviews.

Read More


 

School Context, Peers and the Educational Achievement of Girls and Boys
Dissertation Project
Today, boys dominate among high school dropouts, special education students, and literally any failed or special needs category throughout adolescence. The notorious under-performance of boys in school and their tendency to disrupt the learning process in the classroom has sparked intense academic as well as public debates about the causes of what many now call the "problem with boys." Some blame schools for what they see as a de-masculinized learning environment and a tendency to negatively evaluate boys for fitting into this environment less well than girls. Yet, the role of the school context and the connection between school resources and the gender gap remains controversial. This is especially surprising considering the intriguing pattern revealed in the figure. The graph shows large variation of the gender gap in reading test scores across high schools in the U.S. and indicates that boys do worse in schools with lower average performance. Indeed, in some schools boys excel in reading nearly at the same rate as their female peers do while in others they fall behind as much as a quarter of a standard deviation. Research on the effect of schools dates back to the 1966 Coleman report and developed out of a concern for equality of educational opportunity by social class and race. Now that a growing gender gap in educational attainment has emerged, it is natural to extend this line of research by asking whether schools affect gender inequality as well, and if so, what are the mechanisms by which this occurs.
The goal of this dissertation is to take up this question and understand how the school environment shapes educational outcomes for boys and girls. Building on theories about gender identity and reports from prior ethnographic classroom observations, I argue that the school environment channels the conception of masculinity in the peer culture so that certain ways of 'doing gender' become more popular than others. As a result, the school environment either fosters or inhibits the development of anti-school attitudes and behavior among boys. Girls’ peer groups, on the other hand, more readily and independently of the school context encourage attachment to teachers and school, and are less likely to identify adolescent or pre-adolescent femininity with resistance to authority and disengagement from school.

Source: Educational Longitudinal Study, 2002
Note: The figure shows the 10th grade gender gap in standardized reading test scores plotted against the average performance across 751 high schools in the United States.
An important implication of this argument is that boys benefit particularly from school resources that create a learning oriented peer culture so that the female advantage in educational performance depends on environmental factors connected to the quality of schools. In my dissertation, I will first evaluate this macro-level implications of my theory using nationally representative datasets, and two quasi-experimental case studies from different settings. The findings from the two case studies show that boys indeed benefit particularly from high SES peers in their environment indicating that boys are more sensitive to school resources that create a learning oriented peer culture. In the second empirical part of my dissertation, I use detailed survey and student networks data from different sources to explore the mechanisms underlying the gender differences in the causal effect. Overall, this research makes an important contribution to our understanding of the educational shortcomings of boy in school. It shifts the focus from masculinity as inherently based on resistance to school towards the importance of the local school environment for gender relations, as well as school related attitudes, behavior and performance of boys and girls.

Publications
Legewie, Joscha and Thomas DiPrete (2012): School Context and the Gender Gap in Educational Achievement. American Sociological Review 77 (3): 463-485 [PDF]

School Context and the Gender Gap in Educational Achievement

Joscha Legewie and Thomas DiPrete

American Sociological Review 77 (3): 463-485

PDF



Today, boys generally underperform relative to girls in schools throughout the industrialized world. Building on theories about gender identity and reports from prior ethnographic classroom observations, we argue that school environment channels conceptions of masculinity in peer culture, fostering or inhibiting boys’ development of anti-school attitudes and behavior. Girls’ peer groups, by contrast, vary less strongly with the social environment in the extent to which school engagement is stigmatized as un-feminine. As a consequence, boys are more sensitive than girls to school resources that create a learning-oriented environment. To evaluate this argument, we use a quasi-experimental research design and estimate the gender difference in the causal effect of peer socioeconomic status (SES) as an important school resource on test scores. Our design is based on the assumption that assignment to 5th-grade classrooms within Berlin’s schools is as good as random, and we evaluate this selection process with an examination of Berlin’s school regulations, a simulation analysis, and qualitative interviews with school principals. Estimates of the effect of SES composition on male and female performance strongly support our central hypothesis, and other analyses support our proposed mechanism as the likely explanation for gender differences in the causal effect.

Terrorist Events and Attitudes toward immigrants:
A Natural Experiment

American Journal of Sociology 118 (5): 1199-1245

PDF


Using a quasi-experimental research design, this study examines the effect of terrorist events on the perception of immigrants across 65 regions from nine European countries. I first elaborate a theoretical argument that explains the effect of events on attitudes toward immigrants, and points at economic conditions, the relative size of the immigrant population, and personal contact with immigrants as conditions that mediate the response to events. To evaluate this argument, I make use of the fact that the terror attack in Bali on October the 12th 2002 occurred during the fieldwork period of the European Social Survey (ESS) 2002. In particular, I use the terror attack as an exogenous source of variation, together with the timing of the interviews, to define the experiment’s treatment and control groups. The findings from this natural experiment reveal considerable cross-national and regional variation in both the magnitude of the causal effect and its temporal duration. In two or less clearly three out of the nine countries for which the fieldwork period coincided with the terror attack in Bali (Portugal, and Poland, and Finland), the estimated causal effect is highly significant and substantial. The analysis on the regional level supports the argument about contextual variations in the response to the event, and a second analysis based on the 2004 Madrid bombing confirms my conclusions. Implications of the findings for societal responses to terror attacks, the literature on attitudes toward immigrants, and survey research are discussed.

High School Environments, STEM Orientations, and the Gender Gap in Science and Engineering Degrees

PDF


Despite the striking reversal of the gender gap in education, women pursue science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) degrees at much lower rates than their male peers do. This study extends existing explanations for these gender differences and examines two important and related dimensions: the life-course timing of a stable gender gap in STEM orientation, and variations across high schools. We argue that the high school years play an important role for gender differences in orientation towards STEM fields as students develop a more realistic and cognitively grounded understanding of their future work lives. During this period, the gender-specific formation of career aspirations is not only shaped by widely shared and hegemonic gender beliefs but also by the local environment in school. Together these two dimensions extend existing explanations of the gender gap in STEM degrees and open concrete avenues for policy intervention. Using the National Education Longitudinal Study (NELS), we then decompose the gender gap in STEM bachelor degrees and show that the solidification of the gender gap in STEM orientations is largely a process that occurs during the high school years. Far from being a fixed attribute of adolescent development, however, we find that the size of the gender gap in STEM orientation is quite sensitive to local high school influences; going to school at a high school that is supportive of a positive orientation by females towards math and science can reduce the gender gap in STEM bachelor degrees by 25% or more.

Racial Profiling and Use of Force in Police Stops: How Local Events Trigger Periods of Increased Discrimination
American Journal of Sociology 122 (2): 379–424
Racial profiling and the disproportionate use of police force are controversial political issues. I argue that racial bias in the use of force increases after relevant events such as the shooting of a police officer by a black suspect. To examine this argument, I design a natural experiment using data from 3.9 million time and geo-coded pedestrian stops in New York City. The findings show that two fatal shootings of police officers by black suspects increased the use police force against blacks substantially in the days after the shootings. The use of force against whites and Hispanics, however, remained unchanged and there is no evidence for an effect of two other police murders by a white and Hispanic suspect. Aside from the importance for the debate on racial profiling and police use of force, this research reveals a general set of processes where events trigger discriminatory responses.

Figure: Use of Police Force in Stop-and-Frisk Operations, 2011

Publications
Legewie, Joscha (2016): Racial Profiling and Use of Force in Police Stops: How Local Events Trigger Periods of Increased Discrimination. American Journal of Sociology 122 (2): 379–424 [PDF]

Contested Boundaries: Explaining Where Ethno-Racial Diversity Provokes Neighborhood Conflict

Joscha Legewie and Merlin Schaeffer

American Journal of Sociology 122 (1): 125–161

PDF



Concerns about neighborhood erosion and conflict in ethnically diverse settings occupy scholars, policy makers, and pundits alike; but the empirical evidence is inconclusive. This article proposes the contested boundaries hypothesis as a refined contextual explanation focused on poorly defined boundaries between ethnic and racial groups. The authors argue that neighborhood conflict is more likely to occur at fuzzy boundaries defined as interstitial or transitional areas sandwiched between two homogeneous communities. Edge detection algorithms from computer vision and image processing allow them to identify these boundaries. Data from 4.7 million time- and geo-coded 311 service requests from New York City support their argument: complaints about neighbors making noise, drinking in public, or blocking the driveway are more frequent at fuzzy boundaries rather than crisp, polarized borders. By focusing on the broader sociospatial structure, the contested boundaries hypothesis overcomes the "aspatial" treatment of neighborhoods as isolated areas in research on ethnic diversity.

Unfortunately, I can only distribute this paper via email (legal restrictions): Joscha Legewie