Professor of Sociology
I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at Washington University in St. Louis. I received my Ph.D. in Sociology from Stanford University in 2016 and my B.A. from Rice University in 2009. My research focuses on immigration, race relations, and inequality in the United States, and primarily uses experimental and causal inference methods. My work has been published in leading sociology journals, including the American Sociological Review, Social Forces, and Social Problems. I have won multiple awards, including the Louis Wirth Best Article Award from the International Migration Section of the American Sociological Association.
I am currently working on three main areas of research:
How do race/ethnicity and legal status shape social relations?
A key tensions in the sociology of immigration centers on whether immigrants’ social mobility gains will translate into changing notions of who belongs in American society. Yet limited prior research directly explores how native-born Americans—who are predominantly White and hold substantial power over who is included or excluded in the ‘mainstream’—perceive immigrants and their children, who are predominantly members of under-represented groups. I use innovative survey experiments to systematically investigate how native-born Americans perceive immigrants and members of ethnoracial outgroups (see Schachter 2016; Flores and Schachter 2018; Israel-Trummel and Schachter 2018; and Schachter 2021).
In addition, in a new project with Margot Moinester I am exploring how race/ethnicity, legal status, and experiences with immigration enforcement shape Latinx and Asian first- and second-generation immigrants’ fears of deportation, and in turn, their social integration and perceptions of non-Hispanic White and Black Americans.
How do Americans practice racial/ethnic classification?
A second line of my research, in collaboration with René Flores and Neda Maghbouleh, explores how Americans practice racial/ethnic classification. Historically, the U.S. legal system formally institutionalized ancestry and appearance as the foundations of racial membership. Yet evidence suggests informal classification logics based on cues like religion and language may have also long been present, and might be particularly important for how immigrant-origin individuals are racially classified (see Schachter, Flores and Maghbouleh 2021; Schachter 2014).
How does racialized information affect how people make housing decisions?
My most recent line of research explores racialized information in the online rental housing market, its influence on housing and neighborhood search and selection processes, and the implications for residential segregation and inequality. In collaboration with Max Besbris and John Kuk, we used web-scraping techniques to create a database of several million advertisements for rental housing in the 50 largest U.S. cities posted on Craigslist, the largest housing search website in the country. The rental market is where the majority of Black and Latino individuals, as well as immigrants, find their housing.
Our first stage of the project focuses on understanding how landlords advertise rental housing (see Besbris, Schachter and Kuk 2021; Kuk, Schachter, Faber and Besbris 2021; Boeing, Besbris, Schachter, and Kuk 2020; and Schachter and Besbris 2017).
The second, ongoing stage of the project, which is supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation, will theoretically develop and empirically test how the racialized information we have identified influences the housing and neighborhood search and selection process of prospective renters, and ultimately contributes to segregation and inequality.
For more information about my research, including access to replication data and code, please see the “Publications” page.