Academic Profile

People Feature

David Kirk

Senior Research Fellow

Research Interests: Life Course, Criminology, Quantitative Methods, Experimental Methods.

Dave was a Nuffield College Governing Body member and Professor in the Department of Sociology from 2015 to 2024. While at Nuffield, he succeeded Anthony Heath as director of the Centre for Social Investigation, and was the inaugural director of the Nuffield Undergraduate Scholars Institute. As of 2024, he is Professor of Criminology at the University of Pennsylvania, and maintains close ties to Nuffield as a Senior Research Fellow of the college.

Dave's research agenda is primarily organized around three inter-related themes: the causes and consequences of police misconduct, solutions to criminal recidivism, and the causes and consequences of gun violence. Dave's book, Home Free, uses Hurricane Katrina as a natural experiment for investigating why so many released prisoners are subsequently rearrested and reincarcerated. One answer is related to place. The hurricane provided a unique opportunity to investigate what happens when individuals move not just a short distance away from home, but to entirely different cities, counties, and social worlds. Another project, an extension of the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods, is designed to examine the correlates and consequences of gun violence over the life course over the past 25 years, a period of dramatic social change in the US.


David Kirk I

David Fisher (Fisher Studios Ltd)



Kirk, David S. 2020. Home Free: Prisoner Reentry and Residential Change after Hurricane Katrina (Oxford University Press)


Simpson, Cohen R., and David S. Kirk. 2023. “Is Police Misconduct Contagious? Non-Trivial Null Findings from Dallas, Texas.” Journal of Quantitative Criminology 39: 425-463.

Lanfear, Charles C., Rebecca Bucci, David S. Kirk, and Robert J. Sampson. 2023. “Inequalities in Exposure to Firearm Violence by Race, Sex, and Birth Cohort from Childhood to Age 40 Years, 1995-2021.” JAMA Network Open 6(5): e2312465.

Rad, Abdul N., David S. Kirk, and William P. Jones. 2023. “Police Unionism, Accountability, and Misconduct.” Annual Review of Criminology 6: 181-203.

Kirk, David S. 2022. “Neighborhoods’ Peril for the Formerly Incarcerated.” Contexts 21(3): 34-39.

Kirk, David S., and Marti Rovira. 2022. “An Audit Experiment to Investigate the ‘War on Cops’.” Journal of Experimental Criminology 18:569-580.

Hassan, Said, David S. Kirk, and Lars. H. Andersen. 2022. “The Importance of Living Arrangements for Criminal Persistence and Desistance: A Novel Test of Exposure to Convicted Family Members.” Journal of Developmental and Life-Course Criminology 8(4): 571-596.

Bucci, Rebecca, David S. Kirk, and Robert J. Sampson. 2022. “Visualizing How Race, Support for Black Lives Matter, and Gun Ownership Shape Views of the U.S. Capitol Insurrection of January 6th, 2021.” Socius 8

Sampson, Robert J., David S. Kirk, and Rebecca Bucci. 2022. “Cohort Profile: Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods and Its Additions (PHDCN+).” Journal of Developmental and Life-Course Criminology.

Kirk, David S., and Marti Rovira. 2022. “Do Black Lives Matter to Employers? A Combined Field and Natural Experiment of Racially Disparate Hiring Practices in the Wake of Protests against Police Violence and Racial Oppression.” PLoS ONE 17(5): e0267889.

Frey, Arun, and David S. Kirk. 2021. “The Impact of Mass Shootings on Attitudes toward Gun Restrictions.” Socius 7.

Kirk, David S., Nicolo Cavalli, and Noli Brazil. 2020. “The Implications of Ridehailing for Risky Driving and Road Accident Injuries and Fatalities.” Social Science & Medicine 250.

Kirk, David S., Geoffrey C. Barnes, Jordan M. Hyatt, and Brook W. Kearley. 2018. “The Impact of Residential Change and Housing Stability on Recidivism: Pilot Results from the Maryland Opportunities through Vouchers Experiment (MOVE).” Journal of Experimental Criminology 14(2): 213-226.

Kirk, David S., and Sara Wakefield. 2018. “Collateral Consequences of Punishment: A Critical Review and Path Forward.” Annual Review of Criminology 1: 171-194.

Desmond, Matthew S., Andrew V. Papachristos, and David S. Kirk. 2016. “Police Violence and Citizen Crime Reporting in the Black Community.” American Sociological Review 81(5): 857-876.

Kirk, David S. 2015. “A Natural Experiment of the Consequences of Concentrating Former Prisoners in the Same Neighborhoods.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112(22): 6943-6948.

Kirk, David S., and Robert J. Sampson. 2013. “Juvenile Arrest and Collateral Educational Damage in the Transition to Adulthood.” Sociology of Education 86(1): 36-62.

Kirk, David S. 2012. “Residential Change as a Turning Point in the Life Course of Crime: Desistance or Temporary Cessation?” Criminology 50(2): 329-58.

Kirk, David S., Andrew V. Papachristos, Jeffrey Fagan, and Tom R. Tyler. 2012. “The Paradox of Law Enforcement in Immigrant Communities: Does Tough Immigration Enforcement Undermine Public Safety?” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 641: 79-98.

Kirk, David S., and Andrew V. Papachristos. 2011. “Cultural Mechanisms and the Persistence of Neighborhood Violence.” American Journal of Sociology 116(4): 1190-1233.

Kirk, David S., and Mauri Matsuda. 2011. “Legal Cynicism, Collective Efficacy, and the Ecology of Arrest.” Criminology 49(2): 443-472.

Kirk, David S. 2009. “A Natural Experiment on Residential Change and Recidivism: Lessons from Hurricane Katrina.” American Sociological Review 74(3): 484-505.