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Perceived Criminality, Criminal Background Checks, and the Racial Hiring Practices of Employers

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Author Info

  • Holzer, Harry J
  • Raphael, Steven
  • Stoll, Michael A

Abstract

In this paper, we analyze the effect of employer-initiated criminal background checks on the likelihood that employers hire African Americans. We find that employers who check criminal backgrounds are more likely to hire African American workers, especially men. This effect is stronger among those employers who report an aversion to hiring those with criminal records than among those who do not. We also find similar effects of employer aversion to ex-offenders and their tendency to check backgrounds on their willingness to hire other stigmatized workers, such as those with gaps in their employment history. These results suggest that, in the absence of criminal background checks, some employers discriminate statistically against black men and/or those with weak employment records. Such discrimination appears to contribute substantially to observed employment and earnings gaps between white and black young men.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Law and Economics.

Volume (Year): 49 (2006)
Issue (Month): 2 (October)
Pages: 451-80

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:y:2006:v:49:i:2:p:451-80

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Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLE/

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Cited by:
  1. Lori Martin, 2011. "Debt to Society: Asset Poverty and Prisoner Reentry," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer, vol. 38(2), pages 131-143, June.
  2. Anthony Edo & Nicolas Jacquemet & Constantine Yannelis, 2013. "Language Skills and Homophilous Hiring Discrimination: Evidence from Gender-and Racially-Differentiated Applications," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00877458, HAL.
  3. Sciulli, Dario, 2010. "Conviction, Gender and Labour Market Status: A Propensity Score Matching Approach," MPRA Paper 25054, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. Abigail Wozniak, 2012. "Discrimination and the Effects of Drug Testing on Black Employment," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 13-195, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  5. Keith Finlay, 2008. "Effect of Employer Access to Criminal History Data on the Labor Market Outcomes of Ex-Offenders and Non-Offenders," NBER Working Papers 13935, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Holzer, Harry J., 2007. "Collateral Costs: The Effects of Incarceration on the Employment and Earnings of Young Workers," IZA Discussion Papers 3118, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Samuel L. Myers, 2002. "Analysis of racial profiling as policy analysis," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 21(2), pages 287-300.
  8. John Schmitt & Kris Warner, 2010. "The High Budgetary Cost of Incarceration," CEPR Reports and Issue Briefs 2010-28, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).
  9. Devah Pager, 2003. "The mark of a criminal record," Natural Field Experiments 00319, The Field Experiments Website.
  10. David H. Autor & David Scarborough, 2004. "Will Job Testing Harm Minority Workers?," NBER Working Papers 10763, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Curry, Philip A. & Klumpp, Tilman, 2009. "Crime, punishment, and prejudice," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(1-2), pages 73-84, February.
  12. Steven Raphael, 2010. "Improving Employment Prospects for Former Prison Inmates: Challenges and Policy," NBER Chapters, in: Controlling Crime: Strategies and Tradeoffs, pages 521-565 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Robynn Cox, 2012. "The Impact of Mass Incarceration on the Lives of African American Women," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer, vol. 39(2), pages 203-212, June.

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