Bryan L. Sykes’ research focuses on demography and criminology, broadly defined, with particular interests in population processes (e.g., fertility, mortality, enumeration), mass incarceration, global population health, social inequality, law & society, and research methodology.
His research applies and develops demographic, statistical, and mixed methodologies to understand changing patterns of inequality — nationally and abroad and has appeared in general and multidisciplinary science, social science, and medical journals.
Professor Sykes is currently collaborating on four projects. First, he is leading a $1.61M research study — a randomized control trial (RCT) or field experiment — in six California counties, exploring the effects of economic, socioeconomic, and informational inequality on court-order compliance in rehabilitation program completion, as a study of monetary sanctions and hidden financial punishments in the criminal legal system (see Shadow Costs for more details). The second project explores the limits of mixed-methods, or dual design studies, in social science research. The third project assesses how mass incarceration has affected measures of social inequality and demographic processes (fertility, mortality, nuptiality, enumeration, and morbidity) among subpopulations with the highest risk of criminal justice contact in America, which has led to the development of new demographic methods for multiple-partner fertility; new statistical methods for estimating mortality in differential population environments; and new sampling weights for national surveys that exclude marginal populations. The final project investigates how national, regional, and global patterns of mortality, morbidity, and injuries have changed over time.
He is a Research Affiliate at the Center for Demography and Ecology (CDE) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an External Affiliate at the Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology (CSDE) at the University of Washington. He is also a member of the Scholars Strategy Network (SSN) and the Racial Democracy, Crime and Justice Network (RDCJN) at the University of Maryland. He serves as an Associate Editor for Science Advances (the open-access version of Science), the former Academic Editor of Public Library of Science (PLoS) One, and former Co-Editor-in-Chief of Sociological Perspectives.
Professor Sykes received his Ph.D. in Sociology and Demography from the University of California-Berkeley and a Bachelor of Science in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
- RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences (Beyond the Penal Code: The Legal Capacity of Monetary Sanctions in the Corpus of California Law)
- RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences (Robbing Peter to Pay Paul: Public Assistance, Monetary Sanctions, and Financial Double-Dealing in America)
- The Lancet (Fatal police violence by race and state in the USA, 1980-2019: a network meta-regression)