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Does Banning the Box Help Ex-Offenders Get Jobs? Evaluating the Effects of a Prominent Example

Evan K. Rose

Journal of Labor Economics, 2021, vol. 39, issue 1, 79 - 113

Abstract: This paper uses administrative employment and conviction data to evaluate laws that restrict access to job seekers’ criminal records. Convictions generate decreases in employment and earnings, partly due to shifts toward lower-paying industries less likely to check criminal histories. However, a 2013 Seattle law barring employers from examining job seekers’ records until after an initial screening had negligible impacts on ex-offenders’ labor market outcomes. The results are consistent with employers deferring background checks until later in the interview process or ex-offenders applying only to jobs where clean records are not required, a pattern supported by survey evidence.

Date: 2021
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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:doi:10.1086/708063