Expanded Assessment of the Consequences of Imprisonment for Employment in Maricopa County, Arizona from 2011-2012 (ICPSR 35613)

Principal Investigator(s): Decker, Scott, Arizona State University; Spohn, Cassia, Arizona State University; Ortiz, Natalie R., Arizona State University; Hedberg, Eric, Arizona State University

Summary:

These data are part of NACJD's Fast Track Release and are distributed as they were received from the data depositor. The files have been zipped by NACJD for release, but not checked or processed except for the removal of direct identifiers. Users should refer to the accompanying readme file for a brief description of the files available with this collection and consult the investigator(s) if further information is needed.

This research completed a three-year study of the impact of a prison record on gaining employment. It included two separate experiments and an employer survey in the research. The first experiment involved the submission of more than 6,000 online applications for entry-level jobs. The second experiment sent individuals (auditors) to apply for 60 jobs in-person. The third research method was a survey conducted among 49 employers, all of whom were included in the second experiment.

The collection contains 3 SPSS data files:

  1. file1-male_and_female_inperson_data.sav (n=518; 17 variables)
  2. file2-employer_survey-ICPSR.sav (n=48; 79 variables)
  3. file3-male_and_female_online_data.sav (n=6,198; 19 variables)

Access Notes

  • These data are part of NACJD's Fast Track Release and are distributed as they were received from the data depositor. The files have been zipped by NACJD for release, but not checked or processed except for the removal of direct identifiers. Users should refer to the accompanying readme file for a brief description of the files available with this collection and consult the investigator(s) if further information is needed.

  • One or more files in this data collection have special restrictions ; consult the restrictions note to learn more. You can apply online for access to the restricted-use data. A login is required to apply.

    Access to these data is restricted. Users interested in obtaining these data must complete a Restricted Data Use Agreement, specify the reason for the request, and obtain IRB approval or notice of exemption for their research. Restricted Data Access Terms NACJD

    Any public-use data files in this collection are available for access by the general public. Access does not require affiliation with an ICPSR member institution.

Dataset(s)

Dataset
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Study Description

Citation

Decker, Scott, Cassia Spohn, Natalie R. Ortiz, and Eric Hedberg. Expanded Assessment of the Consequences of Imprisonment for Employment in Maricopa County, Arizona from 2011-2012. ICPSR35613-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2017-08-25. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR35613.v1

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR35613.v1

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Funding

This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (2010-MU-MU-0004)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    employment, employment discrimination, employment qualifications, ex-offender employment, ex-offenders, job search, prisoner reentry, sex discrimination

Smallest Geographic Unit:    County

Geographic Coverage:    Arizona, Maricopa County, Phoenix

Time Period:   

  • 2012-07--2012-09 (file1-male_and_female_inperson_data.sav)
  • 2011--2012 (file2-employer_survey-ICPSR.sav)
  • 2011--2012 (file3-male_and_female_online_data.sav (Summer 2011 and Summer 2012))

Date of Collection:   

  • 2012-07--2012-09 (file1-male_and_female_inperson_data.sav)
  • 2013 (file2-employer_survey-ICPSR.sav)
  • 2011--2012 (file3-male_and_female_online_data.sav (Summer 2011 and Summer 2012))

Unit of Observation:    Employers

Universe:    Employers in the Maricopa, Arizona area

Data Type(s):    experimental data, survey data

Data Collection Notes:

These data are part of NACJD's Fast Track Release and are distributed as they were received from the data depositor. The files have been zipped by NACJD for release, but not checked or processed except for the removal of direct identifiers. Users should refer to the accompanying readme file for a brief description of the files available with this collection and consult the investigator(s) if further information is needed.

Methodology

Study Purpose:    The goal of this study was to develop a broader understanding of the ways in which race and ethnicity interact with a prior criminal record to affect individuals' employment prospects.

Study Design:   

Data file: file1-male_and_female_inperson_data.sav:

Completing the in-person audit of employers required the hiring and training of testers to act as job applicants for the purposes of this research. All 12 testers were college students or recent college graduates. Aside from matching pairs on race or ethnicity, testers within each pair were matched as closely as possible on physical appearance, including height, build, skin tone, hair and eye color, and demeanor.

Testers completed one week of training, for which researchers developed a comprehensive training manual. Researchers provided testers with physical appearance and hygiene-related guidelines and standardized what they wore when applying for a position and any subsequent in-person interaction with the employer. Training also included mock interviews with research team members with questions (and appropriate answers) that were likely to be asked by employers during the application process and during the more formal hiring process, including how to respond to questions about their conviction and incarceration. As the last step in the training process, testers also completed three practice applications (audits) with real employers.

Data file: file2-employer_survey-ICPSR.sav:

Another method used to assess the effect of incarceration on getting a job was surveying food service and restaurant employers that were audited in-person. The web-based survey was completed by employers using an internet-connected iPad. It was administered by trained undergraduate and graduate students.

The survey was adapted from Holzer and Stoll's survey of employers, which was designed to learn about employer decision-making surrounding the hiring of socially-disadvantaged workers, including racial and ethnic minorities, women, and ex-offenders. The survey took approximately 15 minutes to complete.

Several survey questions were about the suitability of a hypothetical job applicant for the position that the employer had advertised on craigslist (and that researchers applied for during the audit). In addition to a copy of the job advertisement employers had posted to craigslist, employers were given a résumé of a hypothetical job applicant, which was the same as one of the résumés used during the correspondence test and in-person audit. As was done in the correspondence test, the race or ethnicity and gender of the hypothetical applicant was conveyed to employers through first and last names. Researchers randomly assigned race or ethnicity, gender, prison record, and education to each employer so that employers were given a résumé of hypothetical job applicant with those characteristics. Employers were asked to evaluate the hypothetical job applicant as if the position was presently available and the résumé was that of a current applicant. Of the 60 employers audited, 48 agreed to participate in the survey.

Data file: file3-male_and_female_online_data.sav:

Six pairs of résumés were created to submit to employers: a pair for black male applicants, black female applicants, Hispanic male applicants, Hispanic female applicants, white male applicants and white female applicants. All 12 résumés included a similarly worded objective statement, an identical set of skills and qualifications that made the applicant suitable for the position, and previous employment in the same three job sectors - customer service, general/manual labor, and restaurant/food service. The résumés created matched within each pair the month and year employment began. The year high school was completed was matched both between and within pairs.

To reflect the average stay for minimum security classification offenses in the Arizona Department of Corrections, and to increase the external validity of this measure, the applicants created were sentenced to a three-year prison term for possession of cocaine for sale. The prison record condition was randomly assigned to a résumé within each pair at the beginning of the online experiment and switched between the two résumés within the pair each week thereafter.

Because race or ethnicity remained a significant determinant of employment chances, researchers used the research of Bertrand and Mullainathan and Lavender to create a sampling frame of first names that are identifiable as black, white, and Hispanic. For last names, researchers turned to the research of the Census Bureau on the distribution of race or ethnicity within last names from the 2000 Census. Researchers randomly selected two first and last names that were racially or ethnically-identifiable for each pairing of résumés. In addition to the name of the job applicant, the résumés submitted to employers using the correspondence method included an email address (that was monitored regularly), a cell phone number (with a voicemail that was also checked daily), and a residential address. Addresses, which were not matched, corresponded to an apartment complex in central Phoenix, and were randomly assigned to each résumé within a pair.

The correspondence study testing for the effect of criminal record on employment chances ran the course of 32 weeks, with the first 16 weeks taking place during the summer of 2011 and the other 16 weeks during the same timeframe in 2012. The résumés submitted to employers in 2012 were identical to the 2011 versions, except all dates were increased by one year. In all, between all 12 pairs of résumés, the correspondence method generated 6,198 applications for entry-level jobs with 518 different employers.

Sample:   

Data file: file1-male_and_female_inperson_data.sav

Researchers audited 60 employers in the food service and restaurant sector from July 2012 to September 2012. The 12 male and female testers submitted 518 applications to employers.

Data file: file2-employer_survey-ICPSR.sav

Surveys were scheduled by calling each employer and arranging a time for a survey administrator (student) to meet the employer in-person. Employers were told that had they were being contacted to participate in a survey designed to learn more about the types of job opportunities that are available to entry-level workers. Researchers also mentioned to employers that they had been selected to participate in the survey because the researchers had come across the job advertisement on craigslist. Employers were offered a ten-dollar Starbucks gift card for participating in the survey.

Data file: file3-male_and_female_online_data.sav

Researchers targeted three job sectors - customer service, general/manual labor, and restaurant/food service - during the online experiment. Across all three sectors, researchers applied for entry-level positions that did not require education beyond a high school diploma or more than three years of previous work experience. Furthermore, researchers did not apply for jobs that ex-offenders would likely be excluded from, including jobs working with children and the elderly, or jobs that required passing a criminal background check. To find available jobs that matched these criteria, researchers searched advertisements posted on Craigslist and CareerBuilder.

Time Method:    Cross-sectional

Weight:    None

Mode of Data Collection:    on-site questionnaire

Description of Variables:   

The data file file1-male_and_female_inperson_data.sav (n=518; 17 variables) contains information related to the tester such as sex, race, whether the tester had a prison record, and whether the tester had a community college degree. There are also variables related to the status of the interview such as whether the tester was interviewed on the spot, whether the tester was invited for a second interview, whether the tester received an offer of employment, and whether the tester received a favorable response.

The data file file2-employer_survey-ICPSR.sav (n=48; 79 variables) contains information related to the company profile such as the type of business and basic information related to current employees. There are also questions related to the current job opening including how easy or difficult it was to fill the position, the education required to fill the position, and the tasks needed to perform the job. Employers were asked about hiring preferences such as how likely they would be to accept certain types of applicants such as someone who had been on welfare, had been unemployed for the past six or more months, or who was currently on parole from prison. Employers were also asked how long after release from prison would they hire someone who had been in prison for various offenses such as violent crime, drug crime, or property crime. After being given a résumé to review, employers were asked about the suitability of the hypothetical applicant for the current job opening including the likelihood to contact the applicant for an interview, whether the applicant had the previous experience, or whether the applicant had the skills required for the particular position. Employers were also asked if they would anticipate any problems with the applicant such as tardiness, childcare, job-related skills, or relationship with other employees. Additionally, the employer stated how likely they would be to interview the applicant or to hire the applicant if they had certain characteristics such as more recent work experience or good moral character. There were also questions related to hiring ex-prisoners such as whether there was a certain job for which the employer would hire an applicant who was on parole and how many ex-offenders they had hired in the past year and in the past two years.

The data file file3-male_and_female_online_data.sav (n=6,198; 19 variables) contains information related to the job applicant such as sex, race, and whether the applicant had a prison record or had a community college degree. There are also variables related to the employment sector of the job for which the applicant applied, whether the applicant received an offer of employment, and whether the applicant received a favorable response from the employer.

Response Rates:   

Data file: file1-male_and_female_inperson_data.sav

Not available.

Data file: file2-employer_survey-ICPSR.sav

Of the 60 employers audited, 48 agreed to participate in the survey.

Data file: file3-male_and_female_online_data.sav

Not available.

Presence of Common Scales:    None

Version(s)

Original ICPSR Release:   2017-08-25

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