Jobs, News and Re-offending After Incarceration
Abstract: While theoretically important, the relationship between crime and employment is difficult to measure empirically. This paper addresses major identification challenges by exploiting high frequency data of daily online postings on job openings and closings at the county level, merged with individual-level administrative data about all inmates released from French prisons. We find that people who are released when jobs are being created are less likely to recidivate; conversely, people who are released when jobs are being cut are more likely to recidivate. We further show that news on job creation matters, over and beyond actual employment opportunities, suggesting implications for crime-control policies. From a methodological standpoint, this paper demonstrates how using media and online information on jobs can generate higher-frequency variation than administrative employment data, and help to overcome identification challenges to capture effects of variations in job market opportunities, especially when combined with other administrative sources.