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Stigma, Ex-convicts and Labour Markets


Address for correspondence: Maria L. Loureiro, Departamento de Fundamentos da Análise Económica, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Avda. Burgo das Nacións s/n, Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, Spain. Tel.: +34 881811674; fax: +34 981547134; e-mail:


Rasmusen (1996) has shown that inmates not only suffer public penalties but also economic and social stigma. In this article, we analyse the economic consequences of imprisonment which can be identified as lower wages and difficulty in re-entering the labour market. Analysing data from a German survey, we find that having been in prison reduces the probability of finding a job and that the total time sentenced to imprisonment reduces both labour market opportunities and earnings. The penalty is worst for those who have committed murder.