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The persistent labor market effects of a criminal conviction and “Ban the Box” reforms

Author

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  • Joshua M. Congdon-Hohman

    () (Department of Economics and Accounting, College of the Holy Cross)

Abstract

Past literature has established that individuals who have been incarcerated face difculties reentering the work force following their release, while finding and keeping a job can significantly reduce recidivism amongst individuals with prior criminal convictions. In attempt to improve employment outcomes, many local and state governments in the United States have initiated "Ban the Box" regulations. These initiatives delay inquiries regarding criminal history on job applications. Versions of ban the box regulations covering public sector employment have been enacted in 31 states and more than 150 local governments. Ban the box laws have included private employers in eleven states and over 30 metropolitan areas including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington D.C, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Seattle. This study uses biennial data from November CPS reports from 2004 through 2016 to estimate the impact of ban the box laws on labor market outcomes using a unique proxy to identify individuals with a criminal record. With a few exceptions, the results do not show the intended improvements in employment and other labor market measures for those with a criminal history.

Suggested Citation

  • Joshua M. Congdon-Hohman, 2018. "The persistent labor market effects of a criminal conviction and “Ban the Box” reforms," Working Papers 1808, College of the Holy Cross, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hcx:wpaper:1808
    as

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    File URL: http://web.holycross.edu/RePEc/hcx/HC1808-Congdon_Box.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Abigail Wozniak, 2015. "Discrimination and the Effects of Drug Testing on Black Employment," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 97(3), pages 548-566, July.
    2. Jeffrey Grogger, 1995. "The Effect of Arrests on the Employment and Earnings of Young Men," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(1), pages 51-71.
    3. Jackson, Osborne & Zhao, Bo, 2017. "The effect of changing employers’ access to criminal histories on ex-offenders’ labor market outcomes: evidence from the 2010–2012 Massachusetts CORI Reform," Working Papers 16-30, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    4. Amanda Agan & Sonja Starr, 2016. "Ban the Box, Criminal Records, and Statistical Discrimination: A Field Experiment," Natural Field Experiments 00539, The Field Experiments Website.
    5. repec:eee:labeco:v:52:y:2018:i:c:p:231-244 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Holzer, Harry J & Raphael, Steven & Stoll, Michael A, 2006. "Perceived Criminality, Criminal Background Checks, and the Racial Hiring Practices of Employers," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 49(2), pages 451-480, October.
    7. Jeffrey R. Kling, 2006. "Incarceration Length, Employment, and Earnings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 863-876, June.
    8. Jennifer L. Doleac & Benjamin Hansen, 2016. "Does “Ban the Box” Help or Hurt Low-Skilled Workers? Statistical Discrimination and Employment Outcomes When Criminal Histories are Hidden," NBER Working Papers 22469, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Kevin T. Schnepel, 2018. "Good Jobs and Recidivism," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 128(608), pages 447-469, February.
    10. Jennifer Doleac & Benjamin Hansen, 2016. "Does “Ban the Box†Help or Hurt Low-Skilled Workers? Statistical Discrimination and Employment Outcomes when Criminal Histories are Hidden," Working Papers id:11170, eSocialSciences.
    11. Yang, Crystal S., 2017. "Local labor markets and criminal recidivism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 147(C), pages 16-29.
    12. Shoag, Daniel & Veuger, Stan, 2016. "No Woman No Crime: Ban the Box, Employment, and Upskilling," Working Paper Series 16-015, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    13. 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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Labor Demand; Labor Market Discrimination; Consequences of Incarceration;

    JEL classification:

    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy
    • J78 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Public Policy (including comparable worth)
    • K31 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Labor Law

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