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The Causal Effects of Criminal Convictions on Labor Market Outcomes in Young Men: A Nonparametric Bounds Analysis

Richey, Jeremiah (2012): The Causal Effects of Criminal Convictions on Labor Market Outcomes in Young Men: A Nonparametric Bounds Analysis.

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Abstract

This paper examines the causal effects of criminal convictions on labor market outcomes in young men using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 cohort. Unlike previous research in this area which relies on assumptions strong enough to obtain point identification, this paper imposes relatively weak nonparametric assumptions that provide tight bounds on treatment effects. Even in the absence of a parametric model, under certain specifications, a zero effect can be ruled out, though after a bias correction this result is lost. In general the results for the effect on yearly earnings align well with previous findings, though the estimated effect on weeks worked are smaller than in previous findings. Results of a novel sensitivity analysis test how the estimated bounds respond to a weakening/strengthening of two key assumptions. Even under a significant strengthening of a key assumption a negative treatment effect cannot be ruled out.

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