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Unemployment Shocks for Individuals on the Margin: Exploring Recidivism Effects

NCJ Number
Labour Economics Volume: 52 Dated: June 2018 Pages: 231-244
Date Published
June 2018
14 pages
This study analyzed the impact of unemployment on the likelihood of returning to criminal activity for a sample of individuals with criminal records who were actively seeking employment.

The study used administrative data from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, Department of Labor, and Department of Health to track unemployment and arrest outcomes for this sample between 2008 and 2014. To identify the unemployment-arrest relationship, the study used industry-specific variation in unemployment trends caused by the recession in 2008-2009, along with individual fixed effects to control for time-constant individual heterogeneity. The 2SLS estimates suggest that increased unemployment had large effects on rearrests for individuals with criminal records who were currently active in the labor market, with substantial heterogeneity by race and sex. The results suggest larger estimates than those typically found in the literature, indicating that targeting employment programs toward those "on the margin" could substantially reduce rearrest rates for such individuals. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: June 1, 2018