IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Harry J. Holzer & Steven Raphael & Michael A. Stoll, 2001. "Will Employers Hire Ex-Offenders? Employer Preferences, Background Checks, and Their Determinants," JCPR Working Papers 238, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:jopovw:238

    Download full text from publisher

    To our knowledge, this item is not available for download. To find whether it is available, there are three options:
    1. Check below whether another version of this item is available online.
    2. Check on the provider's web page whether it is in fact available.
    3. Perform a search for a similarly titled item that would be available.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    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. Raphael, Steven & Stoll, Michael A. & Holzer, Harry J., 2000. "Are Suburban Firms More Likely to Discriminate against African-Americans?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 485-508, November.
    4. H. J. Holzer & S. Danziger, "undated". "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.
    5. Richard B. Freeman, 1991. "Crime and the Employment of Disadvantaged Youths," NBER Working Papers 3875, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Harry J. Holzer & Keith R. Ihlanfeldt, 1996. "Spatial factors and the employment of blacks at the firm level," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue May, pages 65-86.
    7. 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.
    8. Note: For best results & the figures should be printed on a non-Postscript printer. Hoynes & H., "undated". "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.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. John Schmitt & Kris Warner, 2010. "The High Budgetary Cost of Incarceration," CEPR Reports and Issue Briefs 2010-28, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).
    2. Giles, Margaret & Le, Anh T., 2009. "Investment in Human Capital during Incarceration and Employment Prospects of Prisoners," IZA Discussion Papers 4582, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Bethany Everett & David Rehkopf & Richard Rogers, 2013. "The Nonlinear Relationship Between Education and Mortality: An Examination of Cohort, Race/Ethnic, and Gender Differences," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 32(6), pages 893-917, December.
    4. Dara N. Lee, 2011. "The Digital Scarlet Letter: The Effect of Online Criminal Records on Crime," Working Papers 1118, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.
    5. Naomi F. Sugie & Michael C. Lens, 2017. "Daytime Locations in Spatial Mismatch: Job Accessibility and Employment at Reentry From Prison," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 54(2), pages 775-800, April.
    6. Naomi F. Sugie, 2011. "Punishment and Welfare: Paternal Incarceration and Families' Receipt of Public Assistance," Working Papers 1313, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing..
    7. Galbiati, Roberto & Ouss, Aurélie & Philippe, Arnaud, 2017. "Jobs, News and Re-offending after Incarceration," IAST Working Papers 17-71, Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse (IAST).
    8. Smith, Sandra Susan, 2008. "Reputation, Risk, and Race: Exploring Racial and Ethnic Difference in Personal Contact Use and Receipt of Proactive Assistance," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt4h91f0hg, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
    9. Margaret Giles & Anh T. Le, 2007. "Prisoners' Labour Market History and Aspirations: A Focus on Western Australia," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 83(260), pages 31-45, March.
    10. Erin Valentine & Cindy Redcross, 2015. "Transitional jobs after release from prison: effects on employment and recidivism," IZA Journal of Labor Policy, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 4(1), pages 1-17, December.
    11. 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).
    12. repec:pri:crcwel:wp11-09-ff is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wop:jopovw:238. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Thomas Krichel). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.