Criminal Record Questions in the Era of “Ban the Box”
Mike Vuolo, Sarah Lageson, Christopher Uggen, 16 Criminology & Public Policy 139
This study examines three central questions about criminal record inquiries on job applications, which, according to its authors, is a rapidly developing area in criminology and public policy.
The authors find the following:
- Among the 78% of employers who ask about records, specific application questions vary greatly regarding the severity and timing of offenses.
- Applications for restaurant positions are least likely to inquire about criminal histories, whereas racially diverse workplaces and establishments in the most and least advantaged neighborhoods are more likely to ask.
- The race gap in employer callbacks is reduced when applicants have the chance to signal not having a record by answering “no,” which is consistent with theories of statistical discrimination.