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Is there a threat effect of mandatory activation programmes for the long-term unemployed?

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  • Brian Graversen
  • Brian Larsen

Abstract

Exploiting changes in Denmark’s unemployment insurance (UI) system—a ‘natural experiment’ that reduced the period during which unemployed individuals could receive UI benefits without being activated—Geerdsen (Econ J 116:738–750, 2006 ) finds that long-term unemployed individuals are more likely to find a job when facing the threat of having to participate in mandatory activation programmes. The threat effect estimated by Geerdsen is surprisingly large enough so to be comparable with the effect of benefits exhaustion found in studies of finite-duration UI systems. This article re-examines Geerdsen’s analysis. Using better data than were available for his study, we cannot confirm his findings. When we use the same sample period as Geerdsen, we find no significant evidence of a threat effect. Using more recent data, some of our estimates of the threat effect are significant, but these estimates are generally smaller than that found by Geerdsen. To explain the difference between our results and Geerdsen’s, we show that his estimate of the threat effect is seriously upward biased because of the shortcomings of his data and because of an important error in his code. Copyright Springer-Verlag 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Brian Graversen & Brian Larsen, 2013. "Is there a threat effect of mandatory activation programmes for the long-term unemployed?," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 44(2), pages 1031-1051, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:empeco:v:44:y:2013:i:2:p:1031-1051
    DOI: 10.1007/s00181-012-0551-y
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Lars Pico Geerdsen & Stéphanie Vincent Lyk-Jensen & Cecilie Dohlmann Weatherall, 2018. "Accelerating the transition to employment at benefit exhaustion: still possible after four years of unemployment?," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 54(3), pages 1107-1135, May.
    2. Hohmeyer, Katrin & Wolff, Joachim, 2016. "Of carrots and sticks: The effect of workfare announcements on the job search behaviour and reservation wage of welfare recipients," VfS Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145523, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    3. Nisar Ahmad & Michael Svarer & Amjad Naveed, 2019. "The Effect of Active Labour Market Programmes and Benefit Sanctions on Reducing Unemployment Duration," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 40(2), pages 202-229, June.
    4. Markussen, Simen & Røed, Knut & Schreiner, Ragnhild C., 2015. "Can Compulsory Dialogues Nudge Sick-Listed Workers Back to Work?," IZA Discussion Papers 9090, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Unemployment insurance; Unemployment duration; Activation programmes; Threat effect; C41; J64;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C41 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Duration Analysis; Optimal Timing Strategies
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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