Ban-the-Box Measures Help High-Crime Neighborhoods

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Many localities have in recent years regulated the use of questions about criminal history in hiring, or “banned the box.” We show that these regulations increased employment of residents in high-crime neighborhoods by up to 4 percent, consistent with the central objective of these measures. This effect can be seen in both aggregate employment patterns for high-crime neighborhoods and commuting patterns to workplace destinations with this type of ban. The increases are particularly large in the public sector and in lower-wage jobs. This is the first nationwide evidence that these policies do indeed increase employment opportunities in neighborhoods with many ex-offenders.

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