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Criminal background checks and recidivism: Bounding the causal impact

Garima Siwach

International Review of Law and Economics, 2017, vol. 52, issue C, 74-85

Abstract: This paper estimates the effect of employment denial based on a criminal background check on recidivism outcomes for individuals with convictions who are provisionally hired in the New York State healthcare industry. Using institutional knowledge about the New York State Department of Health’s screening process, I build structural assumptions on potential outcomes for different subsamples in my data, which partially identifies the Average Treatment Effects. I find a 0–2.2 percentage-point increase in the likelihood of subsequent arrests caused by employment denial, with substantial heterogeneity across the sample. Specifically, I find that the a priori highest risk individuals are most likely to be impacted by a loss of employment opportunity based on their criminal background. Policy implications of these results are discussed.

Keywords: Criminal background checks; Employment; Recidivism; Bounds (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J48 J60 K31 K40 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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Handle: RePEc:eee:irlaec:v:52:y:2017:i:c:p:74-85