Race, ethnicity, gender, and age are core foci within sociology and law/criminology. Also prominent is how these statuses intersect to affect behavioral outcomes, but statistical studies of intersectionality are rare. In the area of criminal sentencing, an abundance of studies examine main and joint effects of race and gender but few investigate in detail how these effects are conditioned by defendant's age. Using recent Pennsylvania sentencing data and a novel method for analyzing statistical interactions, we examine the main and combined effects of these statuses on sentencing. We find strong evidence for intersectionality: Harsher sentences concentrate among young black males and Hispanic males of all ages, while the youngest females (regardless of race/ethnicity) and some older defendants receive leniency. The focal concerns model of sentencing that frames our study has strong affinity with intersectionality perspectives and can serve as a template for research examining the ways social statuses shape inequality.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science