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Amelia Branigan (Ph.D. 2014)

Area(s) of Interest

Social Inequality; Sociology of Education; Race and Ethnicity; Sociology of Health and Illness.


Amelia Branigan is a social demographer with central interests in inequality, health, and the criminal justice system. Her current work follows three lines of inquiry. A first project considers the social consequences of variation in visible phenotype, specifically focusing on body mass and skin color. A second project uses Scandinavian registry data to consider how infertility, defined as the inability to conceive a wanted pregnancy, is associated with differential outcomes in children ultimately conceived. Two new projects consider the interaction between health and the criminal justice system: the first interrogates the association between parental incarceration and child physical health, while the second asks how shifts in spatialized neighborhood violence, operationalized as transitioning gang boundaries in Chicago, affect a range of individual-level and neighborhood-level health and educational outcomes. Amelia holds a concurrent Visiting Assistant Professorship at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a postdoctoral appointment at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Key Publications 

Branigan, Amelia R., Christopher Wildeman, Jeremy Freese, and Catarina I. Kiefe. 2017. “Complicating Colorism: Race, Skin Color, and Interactions with the Criminal Justice System.” Forthcoming, Socius.

Branigan, Amelia R. and Jonas Helgertz. 2017. “Parental Infertility and Children’s Educational Achievement.” Demography. doi: 10.1007/s13524-017-0573-3. (link)

Branigan, Amelia R. “(How) Does Obesity Harm Academic Performance? Stratification at the Intersection of Race, Gender, and Body Size in Elementary and High School.” 2016. Sociology of Education, 90(1). (link)

Branigan, Amelia R., Kenneth J. McCallum, and Jeremy Freese. 2013. “Variation in the Heritability of Educational Attainment: An International Meta-Analysis.” Social Forces. 92(1): 109-140. (link)

Branigan, Amelia R., Jeremy Freese, Assaf Patir, Thomas W. McDade, Kiang Liu, and Catarina I. Kiefe. 2013. “Skin Color, Sex, and Educational Attainment in the Post-Civil-Rights Era.” Social Science Research. 42(6): 1659-1674. (link)

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