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Open Access Publications from the University of California

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

  • Author(s): Holzer, Harry J.;
  • Raphael, Steven;
  • Stoll, Michael A.
  • et al.

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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