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Prison-Based Education and Re-Entry into the Mainstream Labor Market

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  • John H. Tyler
  • Jeffrey R. Kling

Abstract

We estimate the post-release economic effects of participation in prison-based General Educational Development (GED) programs using a panel of earnings records and a rich set of individual information from administrative data in the state of Florida. Fixed effects estimates of the impact of participating in the GED education program show post-release quarterly earnings gains of about 15 percent for program participants relative to observationally similar non-participants. We also show, however, that these earnings gains accrue only to racial/ethnic minority offenders and any GED-related earnings gains for this group seem to fade in the third year after release from prison. Estimates comparing offenders who obtained a GED to those who participated in GED-related prison education programs but left prison without a GED show no systematic evidence of an independent impact of the credential itself on post-release quarterly earnings.

Suggested Citation

  • John H. Tyler & Jeffrey R. Kling, 2006. "Prison-Based Education and Re-Entry into the Mainstream Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 12114, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12114
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    1. Richard J. Murnane & John B. Willett & John H. Tyler, 2000. "Who Benefits from Obtaining a GED? Evidence from High School and Beyond," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 82(1), pages 23-37, February.
    2. Jacobson, Louis S & LaLonde, Robert J & Sullivan, Daniel G, 1993. "Earnings Losses of Displaced Workers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 685-709, September.
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    5. Kornfeld, Robert & Bloom, Howard S, 1999. "Measuring Program Impacts on Earnings and Employment: Do Unemployment Insurance Wage Reports from Employers Agree with Surveys of Individuals?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(1), pages 168-197, January.
    6. Cameron, Stephen V & Heckman, James J, 1993. "The Nonequivalence of High School Equivalents," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(1), pages 1-47, January.
    7. Richard J. Murnane & John B. Willett & Kathryn Parker Boudett, 1999. "Do Male Dropouts Benefit from Obtaining a GED, Postsecondary Education, and Training?," Evaluation Review, , vol. 23(5), pages 475-503, October.
    8. John H. Tyler & Richard J. Murnane & John B. Willett, 2000. "Estimating the Labor Market Signaling Value of the GED," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(2), pages 431-468.
    9. Bruce Western & Becky Pettit, 2000. "Incarceration and Racial Inequality in Men's Employment," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(1), pages 3-16, October.
    10. Gary S. Becker, 1975. "Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis, with Special Reference to Education, Second Edition," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck75-1.
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    Cited by:

    1. Al-Ubaydli, Omar & Lee, Min Sok, 2009. "An experimental study of asymmetric reciprocity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 738-749, November.
    2. Heckman, James J. & Humphries, John Eric & Mader, Nicholas S., 2011. "The GED," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
      • James J. Heckman & John Eric Humphries & Nicholas S. Mader, 2010. "The GED," NBER Working Papers 16064, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
      • Heckman, James J. & Humphries, John Eric & Mader, Nicholas S., 2010. "The GED," IZA Discussion Papers 4975, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. María Laura Alzúa & Catherine Rodriguez & Edgar Villa, 2010. "The Quality of Life in Prisons: Do Educational Programs Reduce In-Prison Conflicts?," NBER Chapters,in: The Economics of Crime: Lessons for and from Latin America, pages 239-264 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Jeffrey R. Kling, 2006. "Incarceration Length, Employment, and Earnings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 863-876, June.
    5. Anne Morrison Piehl & Geoffrey Williams, 2010. "Institutional Requirements for Effective Imposition of Fines," NBER Chapters,in: Controlling Crime: Strategies and Tradeoffs, pages 95-121 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Bence Czafit & János Köllő, 2015. "Employment and wages before and after incarceration – evidence from Hungary," IZA Journal of European Labor Studies, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 4(1), pages 1-21, December.
    7. 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).
    8. James J. Heckman, 2008. "Schools, Skills, And Synapses," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 46(3), pages 289-324, July.
    9. Edgar Villa & María Laura Alzúa & Catherine Rodríguez, 2008. "The effect of education on in-prison conflict: evidence from Argentina," DOCUMENTOS DE ECONOMÍA 004546, UNIVERSIDAD JAVERIANA - BOGOTÁ.
    10. Jeffrey R. Kling, 2004. "Incarceration Length, Employment, and Earnings," Working Papers 873, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy

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