Megan T. Stevenson

  • Associate Professor of Law
  • Associate Professor of Economics

Megan Stevenson is an economist and criminal justice scholar. She has conducted empirical research in various areas of criminal justice reform, including bail, algorithmic risk assessment, misdemeanors and juvenile justice. Her research on bail was cited extensively in a landmark federal civil rights decision, O’Donnell v. Harris County, and has received widespread media coverage. She was the 2019 winner of the Oliver E. Williamson prize for best article, chosen among all articles published in the Journal of Law, Economics, & Organization within the previous three years. She publishes in both law reviews and economic journals, including the Stanford Law Review, the Washington University Law Review, the Minnesota Law Review, the Boston College Law Review, the Boston University Law Review, the Review of Economics and Statistics, and the Journal of Law, Economics, & Organization.

Prior to joining the law faculty at UVA, Stevenson was an assistant professor of law at George Mason University's Antonin Scalia Law School (2017-2020) and a fellow at the Quattrone Center for the Fair Administration of Justice at the University of Pennsylvania Law School (2015-17). She holds a Ph.D. in agricultural and resource economics from the University of California, Berkeley. Her teaching areas include criminal law, evidence-based criminal justice reform, statistics for lawyers and economics for lawyers.


  • Ph.D.
    University of California at Berkeley
  • M.S.
    University of California at Berkeley
  • B.A.
    University of California at Berkeley

Works in Progress

Algorithmic Risk Assessment in the Hands of Humans (with Jennifer L. Doleac) (2021).
Does Cash Bail Deter Misconduct? (with Aurelie Ouss) (2020).

Articles & Reviews

Pretrial Detention and the Value of Liberty (with Sandra G. Mayson), 108 Virginia Law Review 709–782 (2022).
Algorithmic Social Engineering (with Bo Cowgill), 110 AEA Papers & Proceedings 96–100 (2020).
Open Risk Assessment (with Brandon L. Garrett), 38 Behavioral Sciences & the Law 279–286 (2020).
Misdemeanors by the Numbers (with Sandra G. Mayson), 61 Boston College Law Review 971–1044 (2020).
Algorithmic Risk Assessments and the Double-Edged Sword of Youth (with Christopher Slobogin), 96 Washington University Law Review 681–706 (2018).
Assessing Risk Assessment in Action, 103 Minnesota Law Review 303–384 (2018).
Distortion of Justice: How the Inability to Pay Bail Affects Case Outcomes, 34 Journal of Law, Economics, & Organization 511–542 (2018).
The Scale of Misdemeanor Justice (with Sandra Mayson), 98 Boston University Law Review 731–777 (2018).
The Downstream Consequences of Misdemeanor Pretrial Detention (with Paul Heaton & Sandra Mayson), 69 Stanford Law Review 711–794 (2017).

Op-Eds, Blogs, Shorter Works

Virtually No One Is Dangerous Enough to Justify Jail (with Sandra Mayson), The Appeal (March 15, 2021).
Risk Assessment: The Devil's in the Details, The Crime Report (August 31, 2017).
Reform Systems for Pretrial Incarceration in Philly, Philadelphia Inquirer (September 9, 2016).
Bail System Is Unjust and Undermines Public Safety (with Paul Heaton & Sandra Mayson), Houston Chronicle (August 18, 2016).

Current Courses

All Courses

Criminal Law
Economics for Lawyers
Evidence-Based Criminal Justice Reform
Statistics for Lawyers


‘Common Law’ S4 E7: The High Cost of Pretrial Detention

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