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Life after prison The relationship between employment and re-incarceration

We explore the relationship between formal employment and recidivism using a dataset that follows every Norwegian resident released from prison in 2003 for several years. By the end of 2006, 27 percent are re-incarcerated. Using a Cox proportional hazard model that controls for a host of individual characteristics, we find that the hazard of re-incarceration is 63 percent lower for those getting employed compared to those not getting employed. While some of the moderating association between employment and re-incarceration is accounted for by observable individual characteristics, the substantially lower hazard for those getting employed indicates a possibility of a considerable benign effect of employment on recidivism. Our analysis thus provides further indication that provision of employment opportunities can facilitate the return to society after release from prison.

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Paper provided by Research Department of Statistics Norway in its series Discussion Papers with number 597.

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Date of creation: Oct 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ssb:dispap:597
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  1. Ehrlich, Isaac, 1973. "Participation in Illegitimate Activities: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(3), pages 521-65, May-June.
  2. Brinch, Christian N., 2007. "Nonparametric Identification Of The Mixed Hazards Model With Time-Varying Covariates," Econometric Theory, Cambridge University Press, vol. 23(02), pages 349-354, April.
  3. Fergusson, David M. & John Horwood, L. & Woodward, Lianne J., 2001. "Unemployment and psychosocial adjustment in young adults: causation or selection?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 53(3), pages 305-320, August.
  4. Becker, Gary S, 1993. "Nobel Lecture: The Economic Way of Looking at Behavior," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 385-409, June.
  5. Grogger, Jeffrey, 1995. "The Effect of Arrests on the Employment and Earnings of Young Men," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(1), pages 51-71, February.
  6. Roed, Knut & Zhang, Tao, 2005. "Unemployment duration and economic incentives--a quasi random-assignment approach," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(7), pages 1799-1825, October.
  7. Røed, Knut & Westlie, Lars, 2007. "Unemployment Insurance in Welfare States: Soft Constraints and Mild Sanctions," IZA Discussion Papers 2877, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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