Shawn D. Bushway

Shawn D. Bushway
Adjunct Policy Researcher
Off Site Office


Ph.D. in public policy analysis and political economy, Carnegie Mellon University; B.S. in mathematics, University of Notre Dame

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

To arrange an interview, contact the RAND Office of Media Relations at (310) 451-6913, or email

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Shawn D. Bushway is an adjunct policy researcher at the RAND Corporation and a professor at the University at Albany (SUNY), where he received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship.

He has spent most of his career in the field of criminology, where he has been recognized as a distinguished scholar for the Division of Corrections and Sentencing, and a fellow of the American Society of Criminology.  He is also a member of the National Academy of Science's Committee on Law and Justice.  He has done research on the causal relationship between work and crime, the use of discretion by actors in the criminal justice system, and the process of desistance. Occasionally, the areas intersect, such as his collection of studies on the appropriate role of criminal history records in employment decisions. This work forms the basis for RAND's Reset Project. On the basis of his research, Bushway has provided testimony to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Maryland Public Service Commission, and served as founding member of the New York State Permanent Commission on Sentencing Reform. He was one of the cofounders of what has become the NBER summer workshop on Economics of Crime, the largest annual conference in the growing subfield of economics and crime. 

Bushway has a Ph.D. in public policy and economics from the Heinz College at Carnegie Mellon University, which recently recognized him as a distinguished alumnus.

Selected Publications

Lucy Sorensen, Shawn Bushway and Elizabeth Gifford, "Getting Tough: The Effects of Discretional Principal Discipline on Student Outcomes," Education Finance and Policy (forthcoming)

Audrey Hickert, Shawn Bushway, Paul Nieuwbeerta, and Anja Dirkzwager, "Confinement as a Two-State Turning Point: Do Change in Identity or Social Structure Predict Subsequent Changes in Criminal Activity," Criminology (forthcoming)

Greg Ridgeway, Ruth Moyer and Shawn Bushway, "Sentencing Scorecards: Reducing Racial Disparities in Prison Sentences at their Source," Criminology and Public Policy, 19(4), 2020

Shawn Bushway and Nidhi Kalra, "A Policy Review of Employer's Access to Conviction Records," Annual Review of Criminology, 4, 2021

David Harding, Jeffrey Morenoff, Anh Nguyen, Shawn Bushway and Ingrid Binswanger, "A Natural Experiment Study of the Effects of Imprisonment on Violence in the Community," Nature: Human Behavior, 3, 2019

Megan Denver, Justin Pickett and Shawn Bushway, "The Language of Stigmatization and the Mark of Violence: Experimental Evidence on the Social Construction and Use of Criminal Record Stigma," Criminology, 55, 2017

Shi Yan and Shawn Bushway, "Plea Discounts or Trial Penalties? Making Sense of the Trial-Plea Sentence Disparities," Justice Quarterly, 35, 2018

Yinzhi Shen, Shawn Bushway, Lucy Sorensen, and Herb Smith, "Locking up My Generation: Cohort Differences in Prison Spells over the Life Course," Criminology, 54, 2020

Honors & Awards

  • Fellow of the American Society of Criminology
  • Distinguished Alumnus, Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University
  • SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Scholarship

Recent Media Appearances

Interviews: American Enterprise Institute; KCBS-AM; Times Union Online