Employment opportunities for ex-offenders: A field experiment on how type of crime and applicants’ ethnic background affect employment opportunities for low-educated men in the Netherlands

C. J.W. van den Berg*, L. Blommaert, C. C.J.H. Bijleveld, S. Ruiter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Previous research shows mixed results for the effect of having a criminal record on applicants’ chances in the job market. We argue that, to make sense of this mixed pattern of results and better understand the impact of having a criminal record, research should examine under which conditions the effect of having a criminal record on job seekers’ chances is smaller or larger. The current study uses an experimental design to examine the potential role of different offense types and applicants’ ethnic background. Specifically, we ask how applicants’ chances of success are influenced by prior convictions for a violent offense, a property offense or a sexual offense and by their ethnic background. Data were collected using a field experiment in the Netherlands. Applications for 520 applicants were sent out in response to job vacancies published on the internet. The results provide little evidence that a prior conviction or the type of offense affects applicants’ chances of success. By contrast, we find a strong effect of applicants’ ethnic background. In fact, ethnic minority applicants without a criminal record are found to be less likely to receive a positive reaction than majority applicants with a conviction for a violent offense.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100476
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalResearch in Social Stratification and Mobility
Volume65
Early online date16 Jan 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2020

Keywords

  • Criminal record
  • Employment
  • Ethnic background
  • Field experiment
  • Labor market discrimination

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