Criminology Colloquium Series: Holly Nguyen

Wednesday, December 4, 2019 - 12:00pm

395 McNeil Building 
3718 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Expectations, Criminal Justice Contact, and Worker Discouragement 
Considerable research demonstrates that individuals with criminal justice contact are discriminated against in the labor market by employers (e.g., Uggen et al. 2014; Pager 2003). Such studies were perhaps the impetuses in important policies such as “Ban the Box”, which was intended to reduce the inequalities faced by ex-offenders during the job search process. While insightful, much of the work in this area has predominantly focused on the behavior of employers in the low wage labor market—that is, they investigate how (un)likely employers are to hire/call back applicants with criminal records. We argue that such a heavy focus on this ‘demand side’ of the labor market hinders our theoretical understanding of offender decision making processes and prevents a more complete understanding of the impact of criminal justice contact on employment. We therefore turn our attention to the ‘supply side’ and examine the relationship between employment expectations, criminal justice contact, and worker discouragement.  We use the Panel Study of Income Dynamics to answer three research questions: 1) Is criminal justice contact related to employment expectations? 2) Are these expectations related to worker discouragement? 3) If so, does criminal justice contact moderate this relationship? By studying the supply side, we hope our results can add to a growing body of research on criminal justice contact and labor markets.