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Do Unemployment Insurance Recipients Actively Seek Work? Randomized Trials in Four U.S. States

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Author Info

  • Orley Ashenfelter
  • David Ashmore
  • Olivier Deschenes

Abstract

In the last two decades, U.S. policies have moved from the use of incentives to the use of sanctions to promote work effort in social programs. Surprisingly, except for anecdotes, there is very little systematic evidence of the extent to which sanctions applied to the abusive use of social entitlements result in greater work effort. In this paper we report the results of randomized trials designed to measure whether stricter enforcement and verification of work search behavior alone decreases unemployment (UI) claims and benefits. These experiments were designed to explicitly test claims based on non-experimental data failure of claimants to actively seek work. Our results provide no support for the view that the failure to actively seek work has been a cause of overpayment in the UI system.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section. in its series Working Papers with number 791.

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Date of creation: Dec 1998
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Handle: RePEc:pri:indrel:dsp010k225b05v

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Related research

Keywords: unemployment insurance; work search requirements; randomized trials;

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  1. Bruce D. Meyer, 1995. "Lessons from the U.S. Unemployment Insurance Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(1), pages 91-131, March.
  2. Heckman, James J & Smith, Jeffrey, 1997. "Making the Most Out of Programme Evaluations and Social Experiments: Accounting for Heterogeneity in Programme Impacts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(4), pages 487-535, October.
  3. James J. Heckman, 1991. "Randomization and Social Policy Evaluation," NBER Technical Working Papers 0107, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Jerry A. Hausman & David A. Wise, 1983. "Technical Problems in Social Experimentation: Cost versus Ease of Analysis," NBER Working Papers 1061, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Douglas Wolf & David Greenberg, 1986. "The Dynamics of Welfare Fraud: An Econometric Duration Model in Discrete Time," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 21(4), pages 437-455.
  6. Ham, John C & LaLonde, Robert J, 1996. "The Effect of Sample Selection and Initial Conditions in Duration Models: Evidence from Experimental Data on Training," Econometrica, Econometric Society, Econometric Society, vol. 64(1), pages 175-205, January.
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