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“No more credit score”: employer credit check bans and signal substitution

Author

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  • Robert Clifford
  • Daniel Shoag

Abstract

In the past decade, most states have banned or considered banning the use of credit checks in hiring decisions, a screening tool that is widely used by employers. Using new Equifax data on employer credit checks, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York Consumer Credit Panel/Equifax data, and the LEHD Origin-Destination Employment data, we show that these bans increased employment of residents in the lowest-credit score census tracts. The largest gains occurred in higher-paying jobs and in the government sector. At the same time, using a large database of job postings, we show that employers increased their demand for other signals of applicants? job performance, like education and experience. On net, the changes induced by these bans generate relatively worse outcomes for those with mid-to-low credit scores, for those under 22 years of age, and for blacks, groups commonly thought to benefit from such legislation.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Clifford & Daniel Shoag, 2016. "“No more credit score”: employer credit check bans and signal substitution," Working Papers 16-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbwp:16-10
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Alicia Sasser Modestino & Daniel Shoag & Joshua Ballance, 2020. "Upskilling: Do Employers Demand Greater Skill When Workers Are Plentiful?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 102(4), pages 793-805, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kyle Herkenhoff, 2016. "The Impact of Consumer Credit Access on Employment, Earnings and Entrepreneurship," 2016 Meeting Papers 781, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Moshe A. Barach & John Horton, 2017. "How Do Employers Use Compensation History?: Evidence from a Field Experiment," CESifo Working Paper Series 6559, CESifo.
    3. Will Dobbie & Paul Goldsmith‐Pinkham & Neale Mahoney & Jae Song, 2020. "Bad Credit, No Problem? Credit and Labor Market Consequences of Bad Credit Reports," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 75(5), pages 2377-2419, October.
    4. Marieke Bos & Emily Breza & Andres Liberman, 2018. "The Labor Market Effects of Credit Market Information," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 31(6), pages 2005-2037.
    5. Cox, James C. & Kreisman, Daniel & Dynarski, Susan, 2020. "Designed to fail: Effects of the default option and information complexity on student loan repayment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 192(C).
    6. Andres Liberman & Christopher Neilson & Luis Opazo & Seth Zimmerman, 2018. "The Equilibrium Effects of Information Deletion: Evidence from Consumer Credit Markets," NBER Working Papers 25097, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J78 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Public Policy (including comparable worth)
    • M50 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - General

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