Professor of Criminology and Statistics
Chair, Department of Criminology
Ph.D., Sociology, The Johns Hopkins University, 1970
B.A., Psychology, Yale University, 1964
Research Interests Professor Berk has appointments in the Department of Criminology and the Department of Statistics. He works on various topics in applied statistics including causal inference, statistical/machine learning, and methods for evaluating social programs. Among his criminology applications are inmate classification and placement systems, law enforcement strategies for reducing intimate partner violence, detecting violations of environmental or worker safety regulations, claims that the death penalty serves as a general deterrent, and forecasts of criminal behavior and/or victimization using statistical/machine learning procedures.
Some Recent Peer-Reviewed Publications
“Valid Post-Selection Inference,” (with Lawrence Brown, Andreas Buja, Edward George, Kai Zhang, and Linda Zhao), Annals of Statistics 41(2): 802-837, 2013.
“Statistical Procedures for Forecasting Criminal Behavior: A Comparative Assessment.” (with Justin Bleich), Journal of Criminology and Public Policy, 12(3): 515-544, 2013.
“Covariance Adjustments for the Analysis of Randomized Field Experiments." (with Emil Pitkin, Lawrence Brown, Andreas Buja, Edward George, and Linda Zhao), Evaluation Review, 37: 170-190, 2013.
"Misspecified Mean Function Regression: Making Good Use of Regression Models that are Wrong." (with Lawrence Brown, Andreas Buja, Edward George, Emil Pitkin, Kai Zhang, and Linda Zhao), Sociological Methods and Research, 43: 433-451, 2014.
"Forecasting Domestic Violence: A Machine Learning Approach to Help Inform Arraignment Decisions," (with Susan B. Sorenson and Geoffrey Barnes), Journal of Empirical Legal Studies," 31(1): 94-115, 2016.
"An impact assessment of machine learning risk forecasts on parole board decisions and recidivism” Journal of Experimental Criminology 13(2) 193-216, 2017
“Fairness in Criminal Justice Risk Assessments: The State of the Art,” (with Hoda Heidari, Shahin Jabbari, Michael Kerns, and Aaron Roth), Sociological Methods and Research, first published online July 2nd, 2018: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0049124118782533.
"Modern Neural Networks Generalize Well on Small Datasets,” (with Matthew Olson, Abraham Wyner), Conference Proceedings, 32nd Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS 2018, Montréal, Canada)
"Machine Learning Risk Assessments in Criminal Justice Settings," New York: Springer, 2018.
Professional Awards Elected to the Sociological Research Association; Elected Fellow to the American Association for the Advancement of Science; Paul S. Lazarsfeld Award for methodological contributions from the American Sociological Association; Elected Fellow of the American Statistical Association; Elected Fellow of the Academy of Experimental Criminology.