Many localities have in recent years limited the use of questions about applicants’ criminal history in hiring decisions, or "banned the box." Using LEHD Origin-Destination Employment, a novel dataset on millions of job postings, and American Community Survey data, we show that these bans increased employment of residents in high-crime neighborhoods by as much as 4%. This effect can be seen both across and within Census tracts, in employment levels as well as in commuting patterns. The increases are particularly large in the public sector and in lower-wage jobs. At the same time, we establish that employers respond to Ban the Box measures by raising experience requirements. While black men benefit on net from these changes, a perhaps unintended consequence of them is that women, who are less likely to be convicted of crimes, see their employment opportunities reduced.


Shoag, Daniel, and Stan Veuger. "No Woman No Crime: Ban the Box, Employment, and Upskilling." HKS Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP16-015, March 2016.