Sonja B. Starr

Starr finds employers who weren't allowed to ask about applicants' criminal history may be more likely to assume certain applicants - especially black & Hispanic men - have one, even if they don't.

an In The Media Reference

"More Data Needed to Determine Whether 'Ban the Box' Laws Work" - U.S. News. 9/10/2019.

Agan and University of Michigan Law School professor Sonja Starr sent 15,000 online job applications from fictitious candidates to private employers who asked about criminal history in New Jersey and in New York City both before and after each area began enforcing ban the box laws.

They sent each employer two identical applications, one from a fictitious young white male and one from a fictitious young black male, using distinctive, popular first and last names to indicate the applicant's race. They found that, prior to ban the box laws, applicants with white-seeming names received approximately 7% more callbacks than applicants with the same qualifications but black-seeming names, but this gap increased to 45% after ban the box laws went into effect. Further, Agan says more fictitious applicants of both races with criminal records were getting called back for interviews, but more black men without criminal records weren't getting a call.


Sonja B. Starr

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