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Seminar Series: David Harding, Department of Sociology, University of California Berkeley

Effects of Incarceration on Employment and Recidivism: Evidence from a Natural Experiment
When Nov 24, 2014
from 12:00 PM to 01:00 PM
Where 1101 Morrill Hall
Contact Name
Contact Phone 301-405-6403
Attendees Mohammad Ahmad
Nicole Bedera
Megan Collins
Katie Frey
John Ham
Alyssa Hill
Amelia Jamison
Mary Jung
John Laub
Zhiyong Lin
Laura Logie
Xiaoxiao Lu
Jean McGloin
Sara Millan
Jisun Min
Tyler Myroniuk
Amanda Nguyen
Julie Park
Lauren Porter
Kevin Roy
Julien Savoye
Rachel Shattuck
Margaret Simms
Kyle Thomas
Andres Villarreal
Po Yin Wong
Mia Xie
Yeats Ye
Ben Zou
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About the Talk

Given the dramatic increase in the number of people incarcerated in the U.S. over the last three decades and the high public cost of incarceration compared to other forms of punishment, it is important to understand how incarceration affects criminal offending, as well as offenders' employment prospects when they return from jail or prison, particularly for low-level offenders "on the margin" for whom probation, jail, or other sanctions are potentially appropriate alternatives to incarceration. This project uses a natural experiment that capitalizes on the random assignment of judges to cases to identify the effect of incarceration in prison compared to alternative sentences. We use administrative data on all criminal cases sentenced for felonies in Michigan between 2003 and 2006 and measure outcomes for these offenders over time using new felony convictions to measure recidivism and unemployment insurance records to measure formal employment. Preliminary results suggest substantial negative effects of prison vs. probation on employment but smaller reductions in recidivism that are almost entirely driven by incapacitation.

About the Speaker

David Harding

David J. Harding is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. He studies poverty and inequality, urban neighbborhoods, education, incarceration, and prisoner reentry using both qualitative and quantitative methods. His current projects include the social and economic reintegration of former prisoners, neighborhoods and prisoner reentry, the effects of incarceration on crime, employment, and health, causal inference for contextual effects research, for-profit colleges, educational attainment, and labor market outcomes, and the role of neighborhood context in adolescent romantic relationships and sexual behavior.

Visit Professor Harding's webpage

Co-sponsored with Consortium on Race, Gender, and Ethnicity (CRGE).

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