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Josh Leung-Gagn​é

Ph.D. Sociology (Exp. 2023), Stanford
M.A. Education (2017), Stanford
B.A. Political Science (2013), UChicago
Graduation Year
Dissertation Title
Segregation and Inequality Across Neighborhoods, Classrooms, and Police Jurisdictions
Research Scholar at the Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality, Stanford University

I am a social demographer who uses quantitative methods to understand how people unequally experience a public institution (e.g., the school system, law enforcement) due to being grouped into different institutional units (e.g., classrooms, police jurisdictions) that irregularly provide public goods and bads. This involves analyzing large data sets to describe the two closely related sides of this phenomenon: the segregation of populations and the inequality of institutional provisions across institutional boundaries and physical space. To support these endeavors, I develop measures of conceptually precise estimands that inform public policy and emphasize variance to clarify the scope and landscape of important social problems. I shed light on the causes and consequences of segregation and institutional irregularity by drawing from the sociology of race, education, criminology, and urban sociology.

I work in the Sociology Department and the Center for Education Policy Analysis (CEPA) and I'm a collaborator on the National Officer-Involved Homicide Dataset (NOIHD) research team, a multi-university, multi-organizational data development effort funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). My dissertation, “Segregation and Inequality Across Neighborhoods, Classrooms, and Police Jurisdictions,” is three papers. The first paper formalizes three biases in residential income segregation measurement and develops an unbiased estimator, finding that segregation is about 50% greater and has trended differently than previously believed. The second paper reconceptualizes how segregation occurs under random assignment at small scales to explain my finding that a country without academic tracking has substantial racial classroom segregation. The third paper leverages the NOIHD to produce risk-adjusted estimates of how frequently police departments kill, finding severe place-based inequality in policing violence that contributes to race-ethnic and class disparities.

My research and training have benefited from a number of funders: Diversifying Academia Recruiting Excellence (DARE), a two-year fellowship program through which I joined an international network of faculty and future faculty who share my commitment to making academia more diverse, equitable, and inclusive; a Gerald J. Lieberman Fellowship for graduate students who have demonstrated potential for leadership roles in academia; a four-year doctoral training fellowship from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) focusing on interdisciplinary quantitative research in education policy; an Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education (EDGE) fellowship; and several small grants and fellowships.

*** As a FLI (first-generation/low-income) student, I welcome opportunities to discuss applying to Stanford's PhD programs in Sociology and Education with prospective FLI and POC students. Please feel free to reach out via email with "Prospective Student" as the subject line. ***