Bruce Western

Princeton University

Bruce Western, associate professor of sociology at Princeton University, will study the impact of the penal system on U.S. labor market inequality among low-wage men since the 1980s. With the inmate population reaching 1.7 million in 1997, incarceration has had a profound impact on the life chances of the disadvantaged, particularly black men. Incarceration bequeaths joblessness, first by removing people from the labor market, second by greatly reducing the employability of ex-convicts reentering the labor market. Western will show how these twin effects are highly concentrated among particular groups of people, especially young black males who dropped out of high school. Western will then test alternative theories, drawn from sociology and economics, of why incarceration continues to depress the job chances of ex-convicts long after they leave prison.


Working Papers:


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