Employer aversion to criminal records: An experimental study of mechanisms

The stigma associated with criminal justice involvement, whether it's a conviction or an arrest, has a significant influence on hiring decisions. This study uses survey responses from over 2,000 U.S. adults to better understand what motivates employer aversion to hiring people with criminal justice involvement based on two considerations; 1. perceived risk of the applicant re-offending and 2. perceived positive and negative attributes of the applicant. These perceptions were influenced by four different 'types' of applicants on a spectrum from no known illegal behavior to having a conviction for illegal substance use. Employers indicated less willingness to hire applicants with either arrest or conviction records.


Sugie, N. F., Zatz, N. D., & Augustine, D. (2020). Employer aversion to criminal records: An experimental study of mechanisms. Criminology, 58(1), 5–34. https://doi.org/10.1111/1745-9125.12228

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Open Access Source: https://escholarship.org/uc/item/4f6427hh

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