Mass Incarceration and Quantum-Tempo Effects in African-American Fertility, 1980-2006

Bryan L. Sykes, DePaul University
Evelyn J. Patterson, Vanderbilt University

The growth of the criminal justice system over the last three decades has affected a host of important socioeconomic and demographic outcomes, particularly for young African-American men. Despite growing attention to labor market, educational, and political inequality associated with penal growth, research has yet to investigate how the expansion of the prison industrial complex impacts the timing and levels of fertility. Using a unique dataset created from multiple data sources, we estimate quantum and tempo distortions associated with mass incarceration within a counterfactual framework that controls for differential selection into prison. Our analysis draws attention to a vital demographic process that is perturbed by increasing incarceration rates over time.

  See extended abstract

Presented in Poster Session 2: Fertility Intentions and Behavior