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Do Labor Market Policies have Displacement Effects? Evidence from a Clustered Randomized Experiment

  • Bruno Crépon
  • Esther Duflo
  • Marc Gurgand
  • Roland Rathelot
  • Philippe Zamora

This article reports the results from a randomized experiment designed to evaluate the direct and indirect (displacement) impacts of job placement assistance on the labor market outcomes of young, educated job seekers in France. We use a two-step design. In the first step, the proportions of job seekers to be assigned to treatment (0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, or 100%) were randomly drawn for each of the 235 labor markets (e.g., cities) participating in the experiment. Then, in each labor market, eligible job seekers were randomly assigned to the treatment, following this proportion. After eight months, eligible, unemployed youths who were assigned to the program were significantly more likely to have found a stable job than those who were not. But these gains are transitory, and they appear to have come partly at the expense of eligible workers who did not benefit from the program, particularly in labor markets where they compete mainly with other educated workers, and in weak labor markets. Overall, the program seems to have had very little net benefits. JEL Codes: J68, J64, C93. Copyright 2013, Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal The Quarterly Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 128 (2013)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 531-580

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Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:128:y:2013:i:2:p:531-580
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  1. Cahuc, Pierre & Le Barbanchon, Thomas, 2008. "Labor Market Policy Evaluation in Equilibrium: Some Lessons of the Job Search and Matching Model," IZA Discussion Papers 3687, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Bruno Crépon & Marc Gurgand & Thierry Kamionka & Laurent Lequien, 2013. "Is Counseling Welfare Recipients Cost-Effective ? Lessons from a Random Experiment," Working Papers 2013-01, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  3. Pascal Michaillat & Emmanuel Saez & Camille Landais, 2011. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance over the Business Cycle," 2011 Meeting Papers 124, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  4. David Card & Jochen Kluve & Andrea Weber, 2010. "Active Labour Market Policy Evaluations: A Meta-Analysis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(548), pages F452-F477, November.
  5. Davidson, Carl & Woodbury, Stephen A, 1993. "The Displacement Effect of Reemployment Bonus Programs," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(4), pages 575-605, October.
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  7. Pascal Michaillat, 2012. "Do Matching Frictions Explain Unemployment? Not in Bad Times," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(4), pages 1721-50, June.
  8. Kluve, Jochen, 2006. "The Effectiveness of European Active Labor Market Policy," RWI Discussion Papers 37, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung (RWI).
  9. Annette Bergemann & Gerard Van Den Berg, 2006. "Active labour market policy effects for women in Europe - a survey," IFS Working Papers W06/26, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
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  12. Lise, Jeremy & Seitz, Shannon & Smith, Jeffrey A., 2003. "Equilibrium Policy Experiments and the Evaluation of Social Programs," IZA Discussion Papers 758, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Dolton, Peter & O'Neill, Donal, 1996. "Unemployment Duration and the Restart Effect: Some Experimental Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(435), pages 387-400, March.
  14. Luc Behaghel & Bruno Cr?pon & Marc Gurgand, 2014. "Private and Public Provision of Counseling to Job Seekers: Evidence from a Large Controlled Experiment," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(4), pages 142-74, October.
  15. Matz Dahlberg & Anders Forslund, 2005. "Direct Displacement Effects of Labour Market Programmes," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 107(3), pages 475-494, 09.
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  18. Christopher A. Pissarides, 2000. "Equilibrium Unemployment Theory, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262161877, June.
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  20. Van der Linden, Bruno, 2005. "Equilibrium Evaluation of Active Labor Market Programmes Enhancing Matching Effectiveness," IZA Discussion Papers 1526, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  21. 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.
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