Thiago R. Oliveira

Welcome to my website! I am a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Centre for Social Investigation and a Research Fellow of Nuffield College, University of Oxford. I have a PhD in Social Research Methods from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Starting August 2022, I will be a Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Surrey.

I am a criminologist who draws on theories from sociology, social policy, and psychology to study the exercise of police power and its effects on public recognition of authority and deviant behaviour. I use police conduct and beliefs about the legitimacy of the law as my primary research examples, with special focus on large cities in the Global South. I study these topics from a quantitative social science approach, and mostly rely upon survey data and other kinds of data and use statistical, computational, and econometric methods. My work has appeared in venues such as the Journal of Quantitative Criminology and Law & Society Review.

My chief research interests are primarily organised around the following topics:

  • Consequences of aggressive policing

    Drawing on procedural justice theory, legal cynicism theory, and legal socialisation theory, I am curious about the the extent to which people lose faith in the legitimacy of legal institutions when they are repeatedly exposed to police aggressive and/or violent behaviour, especially during childhood and adolescence, as well as the consequences of undermined legitimacy beliefs to deviant behaviour and tolerance of violence. I’m interested in the effects of public-police interactions, but also in broader temporal and cultural aspects. For instance, what are the effects of cumulative exposures to police misconduct throughout the life course? Do people who belong to specific social groups and are collectively exposed to certain police practices develop shared expectations and tools through which to interpret the functioning of the law?

  • Procedural justice theory

    I’m interested in theoretical developments of procedural justice theory, as well as its close connections to the legal cynicism and legal socialisation perspectives. I’m particularly keen to investigate what other aspects of police conduct beyond fair process could also consist of legitimating norms that contribute to enhance or harm public beliefs about the legitimacy of legal authority, especially in understudied societies in the Global South. For instance, my ongoing investigation in the city of São Paulo, Brazil, demonstrates that perceptions of overpolicing (e.g., the degree to which people perceive police officers to be repeatedly intruding upon their lives) and underpolicing (e.g., how sceptical people are about police officers’ interest and ability to ensure public safety) also contribute to undermine legitimacy beliefs.

  • Criminal justice policy

    I’m very keen to conduct criminal justice policy evaluations. I’m eager to assess the extent to which certain policing tactics actually work to deter crime or whether they end up promoting offending behaviour; I’m also generally interested in evaluating policies designed to tackle police violence. In general, I’m mostly keen to investigate policing policy in Latin America, especially Brazil.

  • Quantitative methods

    I am also very interested in teaching, applying, and developing quantitative research methods. Drawing on data science, statistical, and econometric methods, my main methodological interests include longitudinal data analysis, causal inference with observational data, measurement, multilevel modelling, spatial data models, and R programming.

At the University of Oxford, I am working with David Kirk on a project focused on gun violence in the United States. Drawing on cohort data from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods, including a new fifth wave being collected in 2021, we are investigating some long-term consequences of exposure to police brutality and gun violence during the life course.

Find more about me here! On this website, you can also find my up-to-date CV, some research I am currently working on, and a list of my published papers. You can also find a list of papers I published in Portuguese.

Feel free to contact me!