Working Paper

The Unintended Consequences of Employer Credit Check Bans for Labor Markets


Abstract: Over the last 15 years, 11 states have restricted employers’ access to the credit reports of job applicants. We estimate that county-level job vacancies have fallen by 5.5 percent in occupations affected by these laws relative to exempt occupations in the same counties and national-level vacancies for the same occupations. Cross-sectional heterogeneity suggests that employers use credit reports as signals of a worker’s ability to perform the job: vacancies fall more in counties with a large share of subprime residents, while they fall less for occupations with other commonly available signals. Vacancies fall most for occupations involving routine tasks, suggesting that credit reports contain information relevant for these types of jobs.

Keywords: Vacancies; Credit score; Credit check;

JEL Classification: E24; E65; J23; J63;

https://doi.org/10.18651/RWP2020-04

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Bibliographic Information

Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City

Part of Series: Research Working Paper

Publication Date: 2020-07-15

Number: RWP 20-04