Bruce Western


Department of Sociology, Harvard University

Former member of the NLS Technical Review Committee

NLS user since 1997

  • Western, Bruce and Katherine Beckett. 1999. “How Unregulated is the U.S. Labor Market? The Penal System as a Labor Market Institution.” American Journal of Sociology 104:1030–1060.
  • Western, Bruce. 2002. “The Impact of Incarceration on Wage Mobility and Inequality.” American Sociological Review 67:477–98.
  • Western, Bruce. 2006. Punishment and Inequality in America. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
  • Bloome, Deirdre and Bruce Western. 2011. “Cohort Change and Racial Differences in Educational and Income Mobility.” Social Forces 90:375–395.
What I learned from NLS data

Perhaps the most striking thing I first saw in the NLSY79 was the very large number of interviews conducted in prisons and jails, particularly with African American men. Although the NLSY79 was not specifically designed to study the effects of incarceration, interviews in correctional facilities and high response rates among formerly incarcerated respondents have made the survey invaluable for my research.