LSA Collegiate Fellow and Assistant Professor of Organizational Studies
Davon Norris is an economic sociologist who tries to understand how our tools for determining what is valuable, worthwhile, or good are implicated in patterns of inequality with an acute concern for racial inequality. Often, this means his work investigates the design, functioning, and use of a range of scores or ratings, from the less complex government credit ratings to the extremely complex algorithmic scores like consumer credit scores. By focusing on questions of valuation, his research speaks across an array of disciplines and brings into relief normative questions about the nature and possibility of ameliorating (racial) inequality and nurturing economic justice in the contemporary United States.
Norris is currently working on two primary projects. The first delves into the history of consumer credit scoring to understand present-day policy efforts predicated on expanding data collection and the use of algorithmic scoring as a tool to foster racial and economic inclusion for those on the margins. In this work, he analyzes historical documents, an original national survey, and semi-structured interviews to assess the reasons behind the push to expand the use of algorithms despite prevalent critiques of algorithms as increasing racial inequality, and ultimately unveil key limitations to racial inclusion in an algorithmic age. Second, as a part of a multi-university team of researchers, Norris uses administrative credit report data from one of the largest credit reporting agencies to study credit and debt outcomes in the United States. With granular information on millions of consumers across nearly a decade, this project has begun to understand the effects of federal social policy on the use of risky forms of unsecured credit and the role of residential segregation in the creation of markets for alternative credit products like payday loans.
Ph.D., M.A., B.S; The Ohio State University.