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Darrell Steffensmeier

Darrell Steffensmeier

Liberal Arts Research Professor of Sociology and Criminology

1016 Oswald Tower
University Park , PA 16802
Office Phone: (814) 466-6476

Curriculum Vitae

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  1. Ph.D. Sociology, The University of Iowa

Darrell Steffensmeier received his Ph.D in sociology from University of Iowa in 1972. The underlying theme of his research is understanding how stratification (gender, age, race, class, spatial) and culture impact level of crime and social control efforts.  He has published widely across multiple areas of criminology and criminal justice, with many of his publications applying qualitative as well as quantitative methods.  He is a fellow of American Society of Criminology and past President of IASOC (International Association for Study of Organized Crime).  In the graduate program, he teaches seminars on Criminological Theory; Gender, Crime, and Punishment; Race-ethnicity, Crime, and Punishment; and Types of Crime and Criminal Organization.

Two of his books won major awards for outstanding scholarship: The Fence: In the Shadow of Two Worlds (from the Society for the Study of Social Problems); and Confessions of a Dying Thief: Understanding Criminal Careers and Illegal Enterprise (from the American Society of Criminology). He recently received a major three-year grant from the National Institute of Justice to study the causes of serious forms of white-collar corporate financial crime.  His latest book project – Are Women Changing the World of Crime – reflects his longstanding interest in trends and patterns of female criminal offending.

Areas of Expertise:

Crime, Deviance, & Social Control; Gender Studies, Social Change

Specialty Area Writings:

Gender Crime & Punishment

Age/Life Course Criminality


Race/Ethnicity Crime & Punishment

Crime Organizations/Networks

Communities & Crime

Criminological Theory


Selected Publications:

Gender and Twenty-first-Century Corporate Crime: Female Involvement and the Gender Gap in Enron-Era Corporate Frauds. 2013. American Sociological Review 78:448-476. (with Jennifer Schwartz, Michael Roche)

Taking Criminal Opportunity Seriously: An Actor-Centered Approach. 2014.  In Francis Cullen, Pamela Wilcox, Robert Sampson, and Brendan Dooley (Eds.). Challenging Criminological Theory: The Legacy of Ruth Kornhauser. Transaction Publishers. (with Jeffery Ulmer)

Scope and Conceptual Issues in Testing the Racial Invariance Hypothesis: White, Black, and Hispanic Comparisons. 2010. Criminology 2010, 48:1133-1169 (with Jeffery Ulmer, Ben Feldmeyer, and Casey Harris). Recipient of 2012 Outstanding Article Award of American Society of Criminology.

Gender and Crime: Toward a Gendered Paradigm of Female Offending. 1996.  Annual Review of Sociology 22:459-87. (with Emilie Allan)

Black and White Control of Illegal Numbers Gambling: A Cultural Assets and Social Capital View.2006. American Sociological Review 71:123-156. (with and Jeffery Ulmer)

Is There No Place for Culture in a Sociology of Legal and Illegal Enterprise? 2006.  American Sociological Review 71:162-166. (with Jeffery Ulmer)

Immigration Effects on Homicide Offending For Total and Race/Ethnicity-Disaggregated Populations (White, Black, and Latino). 2009. Homicide Studies 13: 211-226. (with Ben Feldmeyer)

Assessing Trends in Women's Violence via Data Triangulation: Arrests, Convictions, Incarcerations, and Victim Reports. 2009. Social Problems 56:494-525. (with Jennifer Schwartz and Ben Feldmeyer)

An Assessment of Recent Trends in Girls’ Violence Using Diverse Longitudinal Sources: Is the Gender Gap Closing? 2005.  Criminology 43:355-406. (with Jennifer Schwartz, Hua Zhong, and Jeff Ackerman)

Does Gender Modify the Effects of Race-Ethnicity on Criminal Sentencing? Sentences for Male and Female White, Black, and Hispanic Defendants. 2006.  Journal of Quantitative Criminology 22:241-261. (with Stephen Demuth)

Ethnicity and Sentencing Outcomes in U.S. Federal Courts: Who is Punished More Harshly? 2000  American Sociological Review 65:705-729. (with Stephen Demuth)

The Interaction of Race, Gender, and Age in Criminal Sentencing: The Punishment Cost of Being Young, Black, and Male. 1998. Criminology 36(4):763-798. (with Jeffery Ulmer, John Kramer)

Judges’ Race and Judicial Decision Making: Do Black Judges Sentence Differently? 2001. Social Science Quarterly 82:750-765. (with Chester Britt)

Men and Women Decisionmakers: Does the Judge's Gender Affect the Sentencing of Criminal Defendants.1999. Social Forces 77:1163-1196. (with Chris Hebert)

Gender, Structural Disadvantage, and Urban Crime: Do Macrosocial Variables Also Explain Female Offending Rates? 2000.  Criminology 38:403-438.(with Dana Haynie)

Differing Effects of Income Inequality on Black and White Offending Rates.1992. Social Forces 70:1035-1054. (with Miles Harer)

Making Sense of Recent U.S. Crime Trends, 1980-96/98:Age Composition Effects and Other Explanations.1999. Journal of Research in Crime & Delinquency 36:235-274. (with Miles Harer)

Cohort Size and Crime Rates Over the Life Course: The Easterlin Hypothesis Reconsidered. 1992. American Sociological Review 57:306-314. (with Cathy Streifel, and Ed Shihadeh)

Age and the distribution of crime.1989. American Journal of Sociology 94:803-831. (with Emilie Allan, Miles Harer, Cathy Streifel)

Modernization and female crime: a cross-national test of alternative explanations.1989. Social Forces 68:262-283.

Youth, underemployment, and property crime: effects of the quantity and the quality of job opportunities on juvenile and young adult arrest rates.1989. American Sociological Review 54:107-123. (with Emilie Allan)

Causes of white-collar crime revisited: assessment of the Hirschi and Gottfredson assertions.1989. Criminology 27:345-358.

Institutional sexism in the underworld: a view from the inside. 1986.  Sociological Inquiry 56:304-323. (with Robert Terry)

An organizational perspective on sex-segregation in the underworld: building a sociological theory of sex differences in crime.1983. Social Forces 61:1010-1032.

Deviance and respectability: an observational study of reactions to shoplifting.1973. Social Forces 51:417-426. (with Robert Terry)

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