Does Imprisonment Alter The Life Course? Evidence On Crime And Employment From A Natural Experiment
There exists much debate regarding what explains poor outcomes among former prisoners. On the one hand, time in prison can generate stigma and impair human capital development, both of which can affect labor market outcomes and recidivism. On the other hand, selection effects may be driving these results and imprisonment would do little or nothing to change the life trajectory of prisoners.
This study leverages the random assignment of cases to judges with sizeable sentencing disparities.
A case sent to a judge with a high probability of sentencing the individual.
A case sent to a judge with low probability of sentencing.
Results suggest that selection effects could be sufficiently large to account for prisoners' poor postrelease outcomes.