The Labor Market Consequences of Incarceration

Author
Keywords
Abstract

Rapid growth in the incarceration rate over the last two decades has made prison time a
routine event in the life course of young economically disadvantaged, black and Hispanic men.
Although incarceration may now have large effects on economic inequality, only a few studies
systematically examine the labor market experiences of ex-offenders. We review the
mechanisms that plausibly link incarceration to employment and earnings and discuss the
challenges of causal inference for a highly self-selected sample of criminal offenders. There is
little consensus about the labor market effects of a variety of justice system sanctions, but there
is consistent evidence for the negative effects of prison time on earnings, particularly among
older or white-collar offenders. The labor market effects of incarceration are not yet well
understood, but prior research suggests several promising avenues for future work.

Year of Publication
2001
Number
450
Date Published
01/2001
Publication Language
eng
Citation Key
Reprinted in Crime and Delinquency, Volume 47, No. 3, July 2001.
URL
Working Papers