Will Employers Hire Former Offenders?: Employer Preference, Background Checks, their Determinants

In the early 90s, most employers were unwilling to hire someone with a criminal record. This study, one of the first and largest of its kind, draws from a multi-city survey of 3000 employers between 1992 and 1994 in Atlanta, Boston, Detroit and LA. The authors explore some of the factors that impact the unwillingness to hire someone with a record, such as type of employment, stereotypes and the economy. The study also finds that employers’ aversion to hiring applicants with criminal histories is considerably stronger than their aversion to hiring applicants from other commonly stigmatized groups of workers, such as welfare recipients.


Holzer, H. J., Raphael, S., & Stoll, M. A. (2004). Will Employers Hire Former Offenders?: Employer Preference, Background Checks, and Their Determinants. In Mary Patillo, David Weiman, and Bruce Western, Imprisoning America: The Social Effects of Mass Incarceration. Russell Sage Foundation. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/46438260_Will_Employers_Hire_Ex-Offenders_Employer_Checks_Background_Checks_and_Their_Determinants

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