Peter Hepburn

Peter Hepburn


peter.hepburn [at]

I am a Sociologist and Demographer. My research examines how changes to three core social institutions—work, criminal justice, and housing—serve to produce and perpetuate inequality. I use a variety of quantitative methods and data sources to demonstrate and analyze disparities in exposure to precarious work, the criminal justice system, and housing instability. Throughout my research, I develop measures and models that allow for new insight into the variability of lived experience for disadvantaged populations and the transmission of inequality across generations.

The first branch of my research centers on parental work scheduling, child care, and family structure. I analyze how inequalities in control, organization, and coordination of schedules within households create negative repercussions for children and families. In this research, I have described how maternal work schedules have changed between 1990 and 2012. I have also demonstrated how nonstandard work schedules—especially those held by single mothers—negatively affect child care arrangements and put children at an early disadvantage in establishing stable educational trajectories. I am exploringwork schedule coordination among dual-earner couples, with a particular focus on heterogeneous forms of coordination and whether workers have become more or less able to coordinate schedules over time.

The second branch explores the reach of the criminal justice system, especially in ways that are difficult to measure. This includes Demographic microsimulation work withPil Chung demonstrating how mass imprisonment restricts access to kin support beyond the nuclear family and projects with Issa Kohler-Hausmann and Angela Zorro-Medina analyzing the subfelony justice system in New York City.

The third branch explores the causes and consequences of eviction in America. In collaboration with Matthew Desmond and the Eviction Lab at Princeton University, I am working on a number of projects that analyze housing instability and precarity. These include projects investigating serial eviction filings (with Lillian Leung), the demographic characteristics of individuals facing eviction (with Renee Louis), urban-suburban differences in eviction rates (with Devin Rutan), the consequences of parental eviction for children’s educational trajectories, and the link between gentrification and eviction (with Renee Louis). 


Ph.D., Sociology & Demography, University of California, Berkeley

M.A., Demography, University of California, Berkeley

M.A., Latin American Studies, University of Chicago