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Will Employers Hire Ex-Offenders? Employer Preferences, Background Checks, and Their Determinants

  • Harry J. Holzer
  • Steven Raphael
  • Michael A. Stoll

In this paper, we analyze employer demand for ex-offenders. We use data from a recent survey of employers to analyze not only employer preferences for offenders, but also the extent to which they check criminal backgrounds in the presence of very imperfect information about the job applicants whom they consider. We investigate the firm and job characteristics that correlate with these measures of employer demand. We also consider the extent to which such demand changed during the 1990's, in response to tighter labor market conditions, using data from surveys administered at different points in time. Finally, we consider the quantities of demand for ex-offenders relative to their supply, based on a variety of estimates of total stocks and annual flows of offenders back to the civilian population.

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Paper provided by Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research in its series JCPR Working Papers with number 238.

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Date of creation: 07 Oct 2001
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Handle: RePEc:wop:jopovw:238
Contact details of provider: Postal: Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies, 1155 E. 60th Street Chicago, IL 60637
Phone: 773-702-0472
Web page: http://www.jcpr.org/wp/ByDate.html
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  1. 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.
  2. H. J. Holzer & S. Danziger, . "Are Jobs Available for Disadvantaged Workers in Urban Areas?," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1157-98, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  3. Ihlanfeldt, Keith R & Young, Madelyn V, 1996. "The Spatial Distribution of Black Employment between the Central City and the Suburbs," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 34(4), pages 693-707, October.
  4. Note: For best results & the figures should be printed on a non-Postscript printer. Hoynes & H., . "The Employment, Earnings, and Income of Less-Skilled Workers over the Business Cycle," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1199-99, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  5. Michael A. Stoll & Harry J. Holzer & Keith R. Ihlanfeldt, 2000. "Within cities and suburbs: Racial residential concentration and the spatial distribution of employment opportunities across sub-metropolitan areas," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(2), pages 207-231.
  6. H. J. Holzer & K. R. Ihlanfeldt, . "Spatial factors and the employment of blacks at the firm level," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1086-96, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  7. S. Raphael & M. A. Stoll & H. J. Holzer, . "Are Suburban Firms More Likely to Discriminate Against African Americans?," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1160-98, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  8. Richard B. Freeman, 1991. "Crime and the Employment of Disadvantaged Youths," NBER Working Papers 3875, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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