Department of Sociology

Carmen Gutierrez

M.A., University of Texas at Austin

Carmen Gutierrez



Carmen is a doctoral student in the Department of Sociology and a research trainee in the Population Research Center (PRC) at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research explores the multiple ways that social institutions structure health disparities, with an emphasis on how inequalities arise across race, ethnicity, and citizenship. 

Carmen began forming her research agenda in her earlier work exploring the consequences of varying political institutions on the living conditions of different ecological settings. In a project with Professor David Kirk, Carmen examined the relationship between immigration and crime reporting to the police, in light of recent policies that shifted the responsibility for the detection and deportation of undocumented residents from the Federal Government to local police. Their article from this project, published in Crime & Delinquencyshows that crime reporting is inversely related to increases in the share of immigrant residents within an urban area, suggesting that certain institutional approaches to policing generate harmful consequences for public safety. 

In another line of work, Carmen investigated the extent to which distrust in the state influences exposure to violence. Linking distrust in the state with the proliferation of firearm ownership, Carmen investigated differences in gun violence across age, race and ethnicity, and geographic context in a project with researchers from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Their work from this project, published in Pediatrics, finds that gun violence contributes substantially to premature death and disability of children, and that this health burden is disproportionately concentrated among children who are male and Black. These findings provide evidence that distrust in the state may partially explain population disparities in mortality through early-life exposure to violence.

Carmen's dissertation expands her prior work on the structural forces driving various dimensions of inequality by addressing the link between institutional stratification processes and health-related disparities. This project explores variation in the timing and location of the recently implemented Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), to explore the health implications associated with how the ACA separates access to health insurance from the institutional attachments of adults for the first time in the nation's history. 

Carmen's pre-dissertation research was supported by a number of grants and fellowships through the University of Texas at Austin, including: the C.B. Smith Endowment for studies on United States-Mexico relations, the Department of Sociology's Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, the College of Liberal Arts's Excellence Award, and the PRC’s Pre-Doctoral Traineeship in population studies sponsored by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). Her dissertation is chaired by Professor Becky Pettit and is supported by the Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) through the National Science Foundation.

Carmen is the founder and a current member of the Crime, Law, and Deviance (CLD) Research Working Group, which she initiated in the fall of 2014. She has also served as a visiting scholar at the Southern Center for Human Rights and the Division of Violence Prevention at the CDC (Centers for Disease Control).

Prior to entering graduate school at UT, Carmen received her B.A. in Sociology and Spanish at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Curriculum Vitae

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  • Department of Sociology

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