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Title: Essays on Incarceration and Labor Market Outcomes
Resulting in 1 citation.
1. Jung, Haeil
Essays on Incarceration and Labor Market Outcomes
Ph.D. Dissertation, Harris School-Public Policy, The University of Chicago, 2009.
Cohort(s): NLSY79
Publisher: Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago
Keyword(s): Earnings; Economic Well-Being; Incarceration/Jail; Labor Force Participation; Labor Market Outcomes; Minorities, Youth; Wage Rates; Work Hours

Permission to reprint the abstract has not been received from the publisher.

The male incarceration rate in the U.S. has increased by a factor of 4.5 between 1970 and 2000. This increase in incarceration has disproportionately focused on young minority men. Legitimate labor market participation is key to the economic well-being of young men in society. Thus, one of the most important questions raised by a sharp increase in incarceration is whether incarceration actually impairs young men's career and labor market prospects.

The first essay in this dissertation examines how the length of incarceration in Illinois state prisons affects subsequent earnings and employment. After controlling for individual heterogeneity, I find that the length of incarceration is positively associated with earnings and employment even though these effects attenuate over time. The positive effects are stronger for individuals convicted of economically-motivated and less violent crimes such as property- and drug-related offenses than for those convicted of violent crimes such as person-related offenses. Also, the effect is stronger for men with self-reported drug addiction.

In order to evaluate whether extensive exposure to rehabilitation and training programs can generate a positive effect of time served in prison, the second essay examines the effect of Illinois' Adult Transition Centers (ATC) on the earnings and employment of male ex-prisoners after they are released. The paper finds that the availability of ATC is associated with a higher employability of prisoners after release and that time in ATC is positively correlated with post-prison earnings through employment. These associations, however, attenuate over time. Also, the finding that men with more marketable skills successfully finish their terms in ATCs suggests that there is selection and sorting through the process of ATCs.

The third essay tries to reconcile the conflicting evidence about the effect of incarceration on labor market outcomes in the literature. Using data from the 1979 cohort of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY79), I investigate the effect of incarceration on earnings, average weekly work hours, and hourly wage. Comparing ever-incarcerated men before and after incarceration, this paper finds that incarceration does not seem to hurt the marketable skills and employability of men. Post-incarceration earnings and average weekly work hours seem to reach pre-incarceration levels. Real hourly wages seem to increase after first incarceration. In addition, the marital status and family poverty rate before and after first incarceration indicate that the general well-being of men does not deteriorate after incarceration.

Taken together, the essays suggest that incarceration does not harm the subsequent labor market outcomes of men. Especially, the length of incarceration is positively associated with earnings and employment even though these effects attenuate over time. It seems that rehabilitation and deterrence of incarceration are more effective for men convicted of property- or drug-related offenses and men with drug addiction.

Bibliography Citation
Jung, Haeil. Essays on Incarceration and Labor Market Outcomes. Ph.D. Dissertation, Harris School-Public Policy, The University of Chicago, 2009..