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Evaluating the Impact of Reduced Availability of Criminal History on Ex-Offenders' Labor Market Outcomes
Last registered on October 28, 2019

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Evaluating the Impact of Reduced Availability of Criminal History on Ex-Offenders' Labor Market Outcomes
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0004414
Initial registration date
October 25, 2019
Last updated
October 28, 2019 1:32 PM EDT
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Princeton
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Harvard University
PI Affiliation
Rutgers University
PI Affiliation
Princeton University
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2019-06-01
End date
2022-12-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
California Proposition 47 allowed individuals convicted with felonies in several categories to petition for the felony to be reduced to a misdemeanor. In one California County, the Public Defender has worked together with the DA’s office to file these petitions on behalf of defendants without their needing to take any action or even know it is happening. Despite their desire to notify individuals of these reductions, the Public Defender’s Office does not have the resources to do so. We have partnered with the County Public Defender’s Office to randomly notify defendants who have received a reduction, petitioned on their behalf by the SJ public defender. The County Public Defender’s office will use 4 methods to contact these individuals: phone calls, text messages, email and mail to their most recent addresses. We also collect publicly available data on these individual’s criminal history, and match these data to employment and earnings outcomes and credit report data. The matched labor market/criminal record data and credit history/criminal record data will allow us to determine whether knowing that a felony has been reduced has any impact on these labor market and credit outcomes compared to those who are unaware of the reduction. Data collected from this study will also teach us how to best find and communicate with people who may be particularly transient and suspicious of authority.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Agan, Amanda et al. 2019. "Evaluating the Impact of Reduced Availability of Criminal History on Ex-Offenders' Labor Market Outcomes." AEA RCT Registry. October 28. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.4414-1.0.
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Our intervention randomly notifies individuals that their California county felony was reduced to a misdemeanor due to Proposition 47.
Intervention Start Date
2019-08-15
Intervention End Date
2020-06-01
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
1. Does notification of felony reduction improve labor market and credit outcomes, compared to those who received a reduction but were not notified?
2. Do these effects vary by the “dosage” of treatment? In other words, are effects different for those who had their only felony reduced vs those who had one of several felonies reduced? Similarly, does having multiple felonies reduced have a different effect from having one felony reduced? 3. We will seek out other outcomes such as local social service use, housing, etc… if and when they become available.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
4. What is the best way to contact individuals who may be transient, difficult to find, and suspicious of government entities? What proportion of individuals were we able to contact via each method?
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
We randomly assign a portion of our sample [individuals who received a Prop 47 reduction in the California county] to receive a notification that a felony on their criminal record has been reduced. Those assigned to notification will receive notification as described in the Intervention section. We then match these data to employment and earnings data and a credit bureau’s credit history data to determine the effect of reduction and notification of reduction on labor market and credit outcomes.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization was done in office using Stata.
Randomization Unit
Randomization is on the individual level.
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
There are no clusters. Treatment is stratified on whether the subject had only one felony on their record or multiple felonies.
Sample size: planned number of observations
There are approximately 9000 individuals who received reductions from 2014-2017. An additional several thousand (TBA) separate individuals received reductions post-2017.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Approximately 50% of the sample will be randomized into treatment. Randomization is stratified by whether the individual had only one felony on their record. In the first wave of data (from 2014-2017) approximately 800 people had only one felony on their record.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
One of our main outcomes is employment. Given a sample size of 9000 (which we expect to be larger when we collect the data on the 2nd wave of reductions) evenly split between treatment and control, assuming that the employment rate in this population is 50%, and focusing on an intention-to-treat effect, this sample size implies 80% power to detect a change in employment rates of around 3 percentage points at a 5% significance level comparing notification group to control group. For this sample size and effect size, power will increase if the true employment rate of the control is greater or less than 50%.
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Princeton University Institutional Review Board
IRB Approval Date
2019-02-07
IRB Approval Number
10963
IRB Name
Princeton University Institutional Review Board
IRB Approval Date
2019-10-21
IRB Approval Number
11977
Analysis Plan

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