Employer Access to Criminal History Data and the Employment of Young Black Men

Keith Finlay, University of California, Irvine

Criminal background checks have become a routine part of pre-employment screening. Since black men are overrepresented in the criminal justice system, increasing use of criminal background checks might have a significant employment effect for black men. Using a unique dataset on state availability of criminal history data over the Internet, I find that the relative employment of young black men was lowered by more than 2% in states that made the records of former criminal offenders available on the Internet compared with states that did not.

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Presented in Session 47: Incarcerations and Labor Market Outcomes