David Bjerk is the Russell Bock Associate Professor of Public Economics at Claremont McKenna College. He earned his BA from Carleton College and his PhD in Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to his appointment at Claremont McKenna, he was an Assistant Professor of Economics at McMaster University in Ontario Canada and a Research Fellow in Population Studies at the RAND Corporation. Professor Bjerk’s research focuses on discrimination and inequality in labor markets, and crime and the criminal justice system.

He joined IZA as a Research Fellow in May 2009.



IZA Discussion Paper No. 10631

We show that under arguably plausible assumptions regarding the DNA exoneration process, in expectation, the ratio of DNA exoneration rates across races among defendants convicted for the same crime in the same state provides an upper bound on the ratio of wrongful conviction rates across races among these defendants. Our...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 10544
forthcoming in: the Journal of Legal Studies

The United States federal mandatory minimums have been controversial not only because of the length of the mandatory sentences for even first-time offenders, but also because the eligibility quantities for crack are very small when compared to those for other drugs. This paper shows that the actual impact of these...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 10259
published in: Social Choice and Welfare 47(4): 791-824.

This paper uses a laboratory experiment to explore individuals' motivations for redistribution. The laboratory results show that as income uncertainty diminishes, participants become more extreme in their preferences for redistribution. The findings suggest that for most people, the motivation for redistribution is financial self-interest – namely as insurance against future...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 10237
Forthcoming in: Journal of Empirical Legal Studies

The Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 (FSA) affected the U.S. federal mandatory minimum sentencing laws for to crack cocaine offenders, and represented the first Congressional reform of sentencing laws in over 20 years. A primary goal of this legislation was to lessen the harshness of sentences for crack cocaine offenders...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 8224
published in: International Review of Law and Economics, 2014, 39, 58-72.

This paper uses a unique dataset to examine the economics of cross-border drug smuggling. Our results reveal that loads are generally quite large (median 30 kg), but with substantial variance within and across drug types. Males and females, as well as U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizens are all well represented...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 5995
published in: Economics of Education Review, 2012, 31 (1), 110-122

This paper shows that while high school dropouts fare far worse on average than otherwise similar high school completers in early adulthood outcomes such as success in the labor market and future criminal activity, there are important differences within this group of dropouts. Notably, those who feel "pulled" out of...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 4470
published in: Journal of Urban Economics, 2010, 68 (3), 231 - 246

This paper develops a model of crime analyzing how such behavior is associated with individual and neighborhood poverty. The model shows that even under relatively minimal assumptions, a connection between individual poverty and both property and violent crimes will arise, and moreover, "neighborhood" effects can develop, but will differ substantially...

IZA Discussion Paper No. 4387
published in: Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 2009, 25 (4), 391-417

Researchers are often interested in estimating the causal effect of some treatment on individual criminality. For example, two recent relatively prominent papers have attempted to estimate the respective direct effects of marriage and gang participation on individual criminal activity. One difficulty to overcome is that the treatment is often largely...