Labor Demand for Workers with a Criminal Conviction
In this project, we provide new evidence on the reasons that firms are unwilling to hire workers with a past criminal conviction, as well as what types of policies might increase employment rates among these workers. The context for our study is a large online labor platform that, like many other online labor platforms, currently screens out workers who fail a criminal background check. The labor platform has agreed to partner with us in a randomized survey experiment to understand firms' hesitancy to source these workers, as well as to redesign their screening mechanism in a manner that increases opportunities for workers with past convictions. In the first stage of our experiment, we will recruit approximately 2000 professionals from firms who source workers through the platform. Using incentive-compatible questions, we will elicit firms’ willingness to source applicants with a past criminal conviction under wage subsidies, past performance information, and commercial crime insurance. In the second stage of the experiment, we will then match workers with a past criminal conviction to these firms according to the workers’ backgrounds and the firms’ stated needs.