Research Fellow in Criminology


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Biography

Dr Ben Matthews is a quantitative social researcher interested in understanding the recent crime drop in Scotland, and particularly how it relates to inequalities in convictions across characteristics such as age, sex and income. Methodologically, Ben has worked extensively with administrative data, longitudinal methods and data visualization.

Ben completed his PhD in 2017 at the University of Edinburgh, analysing conviction trends in Scotland between 1989 and 2011. Before joining the Understanding Inequalities team, Ben was a Research Associate at the Administrative Data Research Centre – Scotland, working on a number of projects in criminology and social work using linked administrative datasets.

Websites

https://www.understanding-inequalities.ac.uk/

https://github.com/benmatthewsed/

Biography

Dr Ben Matthews is a quantitative social researcher interested in understanding the recent crime drop in Scotland, and particularly how it relates to inequalities in convictions across characteristics such as age, sex and income. Methodologically, Ben has worked extensively with administrative data, longitudinal methods and data visualization.

Ben completed his PhD in 2017 at the University of Edinburgh, analysing conviction trends in Scotland between 1989 and 2011. Before joining the Understanding Inequalities team, Ben was a Research Associate at the Administrative Data Research Centre – Scotland, working on a number of projects in criminology and social work using linked administrative datasets.

Websites

https://www.understanding-inequalities.ac.uk/

https://github.com/benmatthewsed/

Books and Reports

Maria Sapouna, Catherine Bisset, Anne-Marie Conlong, Benjamin Matthews, What Works to Reduce Reoffending: A Summary of the Evidence, (Scottish Government Social Research, 2015)

Articles

Benjamin Matthews, 'Is the relationship between imprisonment and deprivation in Scotland at its most pronounced in Glasgow? ', (2019), Howard League for Penal Reform Early Career Academics Network Bulletin, Vol 41, pp 51

Benjamin Matthews, Jon Minton, 'Rethinking one of criminology’s ‘brute facts’: The age-crime curve and the crime drop in Scotland ', (2017), European Journal of Criminology
Abstract: Examining annual variation in the age–crime curve as a way to better understand the recent crime drop, this paper explores how the age distribution of convicted offending changed for men and women in Scotland between 1989 and 2011. This analysis employs shaded contour plots as a method of visualizing annual change in the age–crime curve. Similar to recent findings from the USA, we observed falling rates of convicted offending for young people, primarily owing to lower rates of convicted offending for young men. In contrast to the US literature we also find increases in the rate of convicted offending for those in their mid-twenties to mid-forties, which are relatively greater for women than men. Analysis of annual change shows different phases in the progression of these trends, with falls in prevalence during the 1990s reflecting lower rates of convictions for acquisitive crime, but falls between 2007 and 2011 being spread across multiple crime types. Explanations of the crime drop in Scotland and elsewhere must be able to account for different patterns of change across age, sex, crime type and time.

Ben Matthews, 'Comparing Trends in Convictions and Non-Court Disposals in Scotland ', (2016), Scottish Justice Matters, Vol 4

Working Papers

Benjamin Matthews, 'Criminal careers and the crime drop ' 2016

Ben Matthews, 'Where have all the young offenders gone? ' 2014