Invisible Stripes? A Field Experiment on the Disclosure of a Criminal Record in the British Labour Market and the Potential Effects of Introducing Ban-The-Box Policies


Abstract Labour market discrimination against individuals with criminal records may be unfair, ineffective and counterproductive. This article describes a field experiment designed to indicate whether job applicants disclosing a criminal record in the British labour market have a lower probability of success than equivalent applicants not disclosing criminal records. The research also provides insights into the potential effects of introducing a Ban-The-Box (BTB) policy in the United Kingdom, which would prohibit questions on prior convictions in the first stages of the recruitment process. The results confirm the existence of criminal record discrimination and suggest that introducing a BTB policy would increase job prospects for White applicants with criminal records, but not for members of ethnic minorities.

The British Journal of Criminology