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“Ban the Box” Measures Help High Crime Neighborhoods

AEI logoMany localities have in recent years regulated the use of questions about criminal history in hiring, or “banned the box.” This publication, from AEI, shows that these regulations increased employment of residents in high-crime neighborhoods by up to 4%, consistent with the central objective of these measures. This effect can be seen in both aggregate employment patterns for high-crime neighborhoods and in commuting patterns to workplace destinations with this type of ban. The increases are particularly large in the public sector and in lower-wage jobs. This is the first nationwide evidence that these policies do, indeed, increase employment opportunities in neighborhoods with many ex-offenders.