Criminal Background Checks in the Labor Market
Friday, Jan. 6, 2023 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM (CST)
- Chair: Natalia Emanuel, Federal Reserve Bank of New York
Labor Market Impacts of Reducing Felony Convictions: Evaluating Observational Approaches with Quasi- and Randomized Experiments
AbstractWe study the labor market impacts of California’s Proposition 47, which reduced certain nonviolent felony convictions to misdemeanors. We use data from San Joaquin County, where agencies proactively implemented the law without informing affected individuals or requiring them to petition the court themselves, and administrative tax records. To estimate the effects of reductions on employment we use quasi-random ordering of reductions and a field experiment where we notified a subset of individuals about their proactive reduction.
Smudges: Employment Signals in Criminal Background Check
AbstractTo what extent do criminal background checks help firms screen for workers with better on-the-job performance? To assess this question, we use administrative records from a national staffing agency that captures both the criminal records of workers and performance calls of their assignments. Our identification strategy relies on the fact that some workers are placed on assignment before their background checks are completed. This practice became especially common when some courthouses closed down at the onset of the pandemic. By comparing the early performance calls of workers who were ultimately disqualified because of their criminal histories to those of workers who were not disqualified, we assess the screening value of criminal background checks.
What’s in a Background Check? Evaluating the Impact of Limiting the Criminal Record Information
AbstractCriminal histories used for employment screening serve as a barrier to employment for a large fraction of males, minorities, and workers without college degrees. To enable "fair chance" hiring, employers may filter which criminal background data are visible to hiring adjudicators, potentially suppressing minor or older charges and convictions. Theory and existing evidence point to potentially ambiguous effects of information suppression on hiring of workers with criminal histories, however, since decision-makers may compensate for the absence of information by using group characteristics to infer it. We have partnered with a background check company to study the effects of policies that alter the set of criminal records available to adjudicators. Using a quasi-experimental approach, we will assess how suppressing a subset of the detailed criminal background data presented to adjudicators affects hiring of workers with and without criminal histories.
University of California-Berkeley
- J2 - Demand and Supply of Labor
- J7 - Labor Discrimination