Effect of Employer Access to Criminal History Data on the Labor Market Outcomes of Ex-Offenders and Non-Offenders
AbstractSince 1997, states have begun to make criminal history records publicly available over the Internet. This paper exploits this previously unexamined variation to identify the effect of expanded employer access to criminal history data on the labor market outcomes of ex-offenders and non-offenders. Employers express a strong aversion to hiring ex-offenders, but there is likely asymmetric information about criminal records. Wider availability of criminal history records should adversely affect the labor market outcomes of ex-offenders. A model of statistical discrimination also predicts that non-offenders from groups with high rates of criminal offense should have improved labor market outcomes when criminal history records become more accessible. This paper tests these hypotheses with criminal and labor market histories from the 1997 cohort of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. I find evidence that labor market outcomes are worse for ex-offenders once state criminal history records become available over the Internet. Non-offenders from highly offending groups do not appear, however, to have significantly better labor market outcomes. The sign of the non-offenders estimates are consistent with the predictions of the statistical discrimination model, but the estimates are not significantly different from zero. These estimates may be confounded by a short sample period and ongoing human capital investments, but the research design provides a unique setting for testing theories of statistical discrimination.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13935.
Date of creation: Apr 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Keith Finlay. "Effect of Employer Access to Criminal History Data on the Labor Market Outcomes of Ex-Offenders and Non-Offenders," in David H. Autor, editor, "Studies of Labor Market Intermediation " University of Chicago Press (2009)
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Other versions of this item:
- Keith Finlay, 2009. "Effect of Employer Access to Criminal History Data on the Labor Market Outcomes of Ex-Offenders and Non-Offenders," NBER Chapters, in: Studies of Labor Market Intermediation, pages 89-125 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
- D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search, Learning, and Information
- J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
- J78 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Public Policy (including comparable worth)
- K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2008-04-21 (All new papers)
- NEP-LAB-2008-04-21 (Labour Economics)
- NEP-LAW-2008-04-21 (Law & Economics)
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