Criminal Background and Job Performance

Job applicants with criminal records are much less likely than those without them to obtain legitimate employment. Recent efforts to address this problem have included campaigns to persuade employers to hire applicants with a record voluntarily as well as legislation such as Ban the Box. The success of any remedial strategy depends on whether employer concerns are founded on an accurate view of how employees with a criminal background behave on the job if hired. Little empirical evidence now exists to answer this question. This paper, published in the IZA Journal of Labor Policy, attempts to fill this gap by examining firm-level hiring practices and worker-level performance outcomes. The data presented in the paper indicate that individuals with criminal records have a much longer tenure and are less likely to quit their jobs voluntarily than other workers.

IZA Journal cover