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The Impact of Incarceration in State Prison on the Employment Prospects of Women

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  • Cho, Rosa

    ()
    (Brown University)

  • LaLonde, Robert J.

    ()
    (Harris School, University of Chicago)

Abstract

This paper uses a unique data set constructed from two sets of administrative records to examine the relationship between incarceration and employment rates for former female state prisoners from Illinois. Our analysis indicates that although prison is associated with declining employment rates during the quarters leading up to women's incarcerations, it does not appear to harm their employment prospects later on. In the short-term, we estimate that women's post-prison employment rates are about four percentage points above expected levels. However, these employment gains do not persist and gradually fall back to pre-prison levels. But for some groups of women, including those with four or more children, those who served longer prison spells, and those who served time for person-related or drug-related offenses, we find that modestly positive employment effects that are on the order of a few percentage points persist. These results indicate that time out of the work force or diminished skills are not costs associated with incarcerating women. Nor does a prison record appear to send an undesirable signal in the labor market that reduces former female inmates' employment chances. Although incarcerated women's subsequent employment rates are very low, they do not appear to be low because of their experience in prison.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 1792.

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Length: 52 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1792

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Keywords: prison; women; employment;

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References

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  1. Ashenfelter, Orley C, 1978. "Estimating the Effect of Training Programs on Earnings," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 60(1), pages 47-57, February.
  2. Ham, John C & LaLonde, Robert J, 1996. "The Effect of Sample Selection and Initial Conditions in Duration Models: Evidence from Experimental Data on Training," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 64(1), pages 175-205, January.
  3. Richard B. Freeman, 1996. "Why Do So Many Young American Men Commit Crimes and What Might We Do About It?," NBER Working Papers 5451, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Nagin, Daniel & Waldfogel, Joel, 1995. "The effects of criminality and conviction on the labor market status of young British offenders," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 15(1), pages 109-126, January.
  5. Heckman, James J. & Singer, Burton, 1984. "Econometric duration analysis," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 24(1-2), pages 63-132.
  6. Harry J. Holzer & Robert J. LaLonde, 1999. "Job Change and Job Stability Among Less-Skilled Young Workers," JCPR Working Papers, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research 80, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  7. Freeman, Richard B., 1999. "The economics of crime," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 52, pages 3529-3571 Elsevier.
  8. Jeff Grogger, 1997. "Market Wages and Youth Crime," NBER Working Papers 5983, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Joel Waldfogel, 1994. " The Effect of Criminal Conviction on Income and the Trust "Reposed in the Workmen"," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 29(1), pages 62-81.
  10. Richard B. Freeman, 1991. "Crime and the Employment of Disadvantaged Youths," NBER Working Papers 3875, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Jeffrey R. Kling & David Weiman & Bruce Western, 2001. "The Labor Market Consequences of Incarceration," Working Papers, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section. 829, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
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Cited by:
  1. Giles, Margaret & Le, Anh T., 2009. "Investment in Human Capital during Incarceration and Employment Prospects of Prisoners," IZA Discussion Papers 4582, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Sciulli, Dario, 2010. "Conviction, Gender and Labour Market Status: A Propensity Score Matching Approach," MPRA Paper 25054, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. 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).
  4. 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.

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