The Effect of Incarceration on Future Earnings

In this article, Dr. Bruce and Mr. Aldridge find that the literature regarding the effect of a criminal record on income suggests incarceration has a relatively small effect on lifetime earnings. Those who have been incarcerated tend to have lower levels of income than those without a criminal record, not because incarceration has changed their vocational/economic outcomes, but because they are drawn from a group with relatively low income to begin with. Further, the length of a person’s incarceration (holding the severity of the crime constant) appeared to have little impact on earnings, except in the case of “white collar” crime such as fraud or embezzlement. The literature suggests that individuals with supportive family ties, such as those living with their spouses and children, were the most successful at transitioning back into the workforce. In addition, the likelihood of recidivism decreased as an individual aged (i.e., those 30 and 40 year olds who were incarcerated in their early 20s are not likely to become repeat offenders).


Are Data from the 2011 Census Reliable?

In this article, Dr. Bruce examines the reliability of the 2011 Census income data. In the past, completion of the long form census was mandatory. In 2011, however, completion of this form was voluntary and the response rate decreased. While this created statistical problems concerning the reliability of the data, Statistics Canada had anticipated these problems and took steps to mitigate them. In his article, Dr. Bruce discusses these problems, and the solutions implemented by Statistics Canada, concluding that the 2011 census remains a reliable, high quality data source. It will remain our primary source of earnings information until data from the 2016 census are released sometime in 2018.

With respect to the 2016 census, we would note that it will be mandatory. Further, Statistics Canada will be sending the long-form section to a greater number of households than in past censuses (one in four households instead of one in five households), and will use income data directly from the Canada Revenue Agency, providing data for 100 percent of households. It is anticipated that because of these changes, the income data from the 2016 census will be the most accurate of any census to date.