Does employing inmates in prison jobs reduce reincarceration? I investigate this question applying quasi-experimental and structural methods to administrative data on the universe of convicts released from Italian prisons between 2009 and 2012. I find that a standard deviation increase in average annual hours spent in a paid, unskilled prison job (200 hours per year) reduces the reincarceration rate by about 10 percentage points one year of release. This effect persists after three years of release, implying a rate of return on government funds allocated to prison work programs in the order of 50%. Structural estimation of a model formalizing the institutional context and the convict's problem upon release reproduces the quasi-experimental finding and indicates that the "training effect" of prison work (slower depreciation of an inmate's earnings potential during imprisonment) accounts for most of the drop in the reincarceration rate.ersity of Adelaide.

About the presenter's visit

Giulio Zanella will be visiting the School of Economics on Friday 2 August 2019. While here he will be using room 520A Colin Clark building. If you would like to meet with him or have lunch or dinner with him please contact Professor Claudio Mezzetti, who will be his host while at The University of Queensland. Professor Mezzetti can be contacted on c.mezzetti@uq.edu.au.

About School Seminar Series

The School of Economics General Seminar Series is held on Fridays. These are in-person and presented by a range of guest researchers from around Australia and internationally.

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Level 1, Colin Clark building (#39)
The University of Queensland
St Lucia campus