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Dr. Valerio Baćak

Associate Professor


Ph.D. (2015) Sociology, University of Pennsylvania; A.M. (2014) Statistics, Wharton School; M.A. (2008) Sociology, University of Oxford; M.Sc. (2008), B.A. (2007) Sociology, University of Zagreb

Office Location

CLJ, Room 545

Areas of Specialization

Comparative Criminology
Drug Policy
Quantitative Methods


Valerio Baćak joined the faculty in the School of Criminal Justice at Rutgers University in 2015. His primary research interest is in understanding how legal systems of punishment and control shape social inequality, especially inequalities in health. In addition to academic work, Valerio has consulted internationally on public health projects for various United Nations organizations. As a research and teaching fellow at the University of Zagreb, he studied youth sexuality and the social epidemiology of HIV/AIDS among vulnerable populations. Originally from Croatia, Valerio received a BA in Sociology from the University of Zagreb.


Recent & Key Publications

Baćak, V., & Kennedy, E. H. (2019). Principled machine learning using the super learner: An application to predicting prison violence.  Sociological Methods & Research, 48, 698-721.

Baćak, V., Andersen, L. H., & Schnittker, J. (2019). The effect of timing of incarceration on mental health: Evidence from a natural experiment.  Social Forces, 98, 303-328.

Baćak, V., Thurman, K., Eyer, K., Qureshi, R., Bird, J. D., Rivera, L. M., & Kim, S. A. (2018). Incarceration as a health determinant for sexual orientation and gender minority persons.  American Journal of Public Health, 108, 994-999.