Pre-Imprisonment Employment Drops: Another Instance of the Ashenfelter Dip?

Charles E. Loeffler | January 1, 2018

A number of recent studies examining the effects of imprisonment on ex-prisoner labor market outcomes have reported sizable pre-imprisonment employment drops. The precise cause of these employment declines has not yet been identified. The present Article provides evidence that these geometric declines in employment prior to imprisonment are largely unrelated to the long-term economic trajectories of the soon-to-be imprisoned, and instead reflect the mechanical disruption of labor market activity resulting from pre-imprisonment criminal case processing, especially pretrial incarceration.