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Do unemployment insurance recipients actively seek work? Evidence from randomized trials in four U.S. States

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  • Ashenfelter, Orley
  • Ashmore, David
  • Deschenes, Olivier

Abstract

In this paper we report the results of the only field test of which we are aware that uses randomized trials to measure whether stricter enforcement and verification of work search behavior alone decreases unemployment claims and benefits paid in the U.S. unemployment insurance (UI) program. These experiments, which we implemented in four sites in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Virginia, and Tennessee, were designed to explicitly test claims based on nonexperimental data, summarized in Burgess and Kingston (1987), that a prime cause of overpayments is the failure of claimants to actively seek work. Our results provide no support for the view that the failure to actively search for work has been a cause of overpayments in the UI system.
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Suggested Citation

  • Ashenfelter, Orley & Ashmore, David & Deschenes, Olivier, 2005. "Do unemployment insurance recipients actively seek work? Evidence from randomized trials in four U.S. States," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 125(1-2), pages 53-75.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:econom:v:125:y:2005:i:1-2:p:53-75
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. James J. Heckman & Jeffrey Smith & Nancy Clements, 1997. "Making The Most Out Of Programme Evaluations and Social Experiments: Accounting For Heterogeneity in Programme Impacts," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(4), pages 487-535.
    2. James J. Heckman & Jeffrey A. Smith, 1995. "Assessing the Case for Social Experiments," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 85-110, Spring.
    3. Walter Corson & David Long & Walter Nicholson, 1985. "Evaluation of the Charleston Claimant Placement and Work Test Demonstration," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 9af520d14c1b4654b8080d304, Mathematica Policy Research.
    4. Jerry A. Hausman & David A. Wise, 1985. "Technical Problems in Social Experimentation: Cost versus Ease of Analysis," NBER Chapters,in: Social Experimentation, pages 187-220 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. repec:mpr:mprres:7757 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Heckman, James J. & Lalonde, Robert J. & Smith, Jeffrey A., 1999. "The economics and econometrics of active labor market programs," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 31, pages 1865-2097 Elsevier.
    7. 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.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • J65 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings

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