Perceived Criminality, Criminal Background Checks, and the Racial Hiring Practices of Employers

Employers who run criminal background checks are more likely to hire Black men than those that don't conduct background checks, according to this study based on data from the early 1990s. The authors theorize that employers who don't check criminal records discriminate on the presumed relationship between Black men and criminal behavior. In other words, employers simply avoid hiring Black men in order to avoid hiring people with criminal records. On the basis of these findings, the authors have cautioned against measures like Ban the Box that limit employer's access to criminal records.


Holzer, H. J., Raphael, S., & Stoll, M. A. (2006). Perceived Criminality, Criminal Background Checks, and the Racial Hiring Practices of Employers. The Journal of Law and Economics, 49(2), 451–480. https://doi.org/10.1086/501089

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Open Access Source: https://booksc.org/book/59824479/416e83