Hiring of African-American Men Helped by Background Checks?

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An interesting study in the Journal of Law and Economics found that companies that conduct background checks result in higher hiring rates for African-American men. Here, the abstract:

In this paper, we analyze the effect of employer-initiated criminal background checks on the likelihood that employers hire African Americans. We find that employers who check criminal backgrounds are more likely to hire African American workers, especially men. This effect is stronger among those employers who report an aversion to hiring those with criminal records than among those who do not. We also find similar effects of employer aversion to ex-offenders and their tendency to check backgrounds on their willingness to hire other stigmatized workers, such as those with gaps in their employment history. These results suggest that, in the absence of criminal background checks, some employers discriminate statistically against black men and/or those with weak employment records. Such discrimination appears to contribute substantially to observed employment and earnings gaps between white and black young men.

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