Zwart werk na vrijlating | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 92, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0025-9454
  • E-ISSN: 1876-2816



Prior re-entry studies used administrative data to conclude that post-release employment rates are low. These studies may however underestimate ex-prisoners’ labour market participation as especially ex-prisoners are expected to work off-the-books. A prison record might for instance create a legal ban on certain occupations, pushing them towards the informal labour market. This study combines administrative with interview data to examine the prevalence and relative importance of informal employment among former prisoners in the Netherlands (N = 738). Multiple measurement strategies show that a substantial part of these men work off-the-books. About forty percent of these workers rely on it as their primary source of income, but many combine it with a formal job or social benefits. These findings raise concern and show that many post-prison jobs currently do not come to the attention of scholars or governmental organizations.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): labour market participation; off-the-books employment; prison; re-entry
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