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Study: white ex-cons chosen over blacks
Princeton study of 1,500 NYC businesses also shows criminal history trims employment prospects.
June 17, 2005: 12:49 PM EDT

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Black job applicants without criminal records are equally likely to be hired as their white counterparts who have served time in prison, according to a recent Princeton University study.

Conducted in 2004, the study, "Discrimination in Low Wage Labor Markets," examined almost 1,500 employers in New York City for their hiring of white, Hispanic and black job applicants.

The authors of the study, Devah Pager and Bruce Western, who teach sociology at Princeton, sent 13 young men with matching, fictitious resumes and educational backgrounds to apply for entry-level jobs in the restaurant, manufacturing and financial services industries.

Using the number of jobs offers and interview invitations, Pager and Western discovered that black applicants had fewer positive responses than a white ex-criminal offender. Hispanics also fared slightly better than whites with criminal records but were preferred to African-American applicants.

"A lot of people are skeptical that African Americans still face discrimination in the job market," said Pager in a statement. "But even in a diverse city like New York, the evidence of discrimination is unmistakeable."

The study also determined that ex-criminal offenders faced employment challenges as a criminal past reduced the number of positive responses for both white and black applicants, with African-Americans facing a greater barrier for possible employment.

Click here for CNN/Money's special report 'Your Job 2005'.  Top of page

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