Statistical (and Racial) Discrimination, 'Ban the Box', and Crime Rates
American Law and Economics Review, Forthcoming
20 Pages Posted: 27 Mar 2017 Last revised: 14 Aug 2018
Date Written: March 25, 2017
This article presents law enforcement models where employers engage in statistical discrimination, and the visibility of criminal records can be adjusted through policies (such as ban the box campaigns). I show that statistical discrimination leads to an increase in crime rates under plausible conditions. This suggests that societies in which membership to disadvantaged groups is salient (e.g. through greater racial or religious heterogeneity) are, ceteris paribus, likely to have higher crime rates. Attempting to fix the negative impacts of statistical discrimination through policies that reduce the visibility of criminal records increases crime rates further. Moreover, such policies cause a greater negative effect for law abiding members of the disadvantaged group than members of the statistically favored group.
Keywords: Statistical discrimination, ban the box, crime, deterrence, racial heterogeneity.
JEL Classification: K00, K14, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation