Richard Berk

Professor of Criminology and Statistics

Chair, Department of Criminology

PhD, Sociology, The Johns Hopkins University, 1970

BA, 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

Criminal Justice forecasts of Risk: A Machine Learning Approach. New York, Springer, 2012.

“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. 

Richard Berk, "An impact assessment of machine learning risk forecasts on parole board decisions and recidivism Journal of Experimental Criminology 13(2) 193-216, 2017

Some Recent Consulting Philadelphia Adult Department of Probation and Parole; Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole; Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services; Washington, D.C. Police Department; Child Protective Services, Maryland Department of Human Resources; United States District Court for the Eastern District of California; U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics; Philadelphia Police Department.

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.