No Woman No Crime: Ban the Box, Employment, and Upskilling

A sizable number of localities have in recent years limited the use of criminal background checks in hiring decisions, or “banned the box.” Using LEHD Origin-Destination Employment and American Community Survey data, we show that these bans increased employment of residents in high-crime neighborhoods by as much as 4%. These increases are particularly large in the public sector. At the same time, we establish using job postings data that employers respond to ban-the-box measures by raising experience requirements. A perhaps unintended consequence of this is that women, who are less likely to be convicted of crimes, see their employment opportunities reduced.

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