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Learning about Job Search: A Field Experiment with Job Seekers in Germany

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Listed:
  • Steffen Altmann
  • Armin Falk
  • Simon Jäger
  • Florian Zimmermann

Abstract

We conduct a large-scale field experiment in the German labor market to investigate how information provision affects job seekers’ employment prospects and labor market outcomes. Individuals assigned to the treatment group of our experiment received a brochure that informed them about job search strategies and the consequences of unemployment, and motivated them to actively look for new employment. We study the causal impact of the brochure by comparing labor market outcomes of treated and untreated job seekers in administrative data containing comprehensive information on individuals’ employment status and earnings. While our treatment yields overall positive effects, these tend to be concentrated among job seekers who are at risk of being unemployed for an extended period of time. Specifically, the treatment effects in our overall sample are moderately positive but mostly insignificant. At the same time, we do observe pronounced and statistically significant effects for individuals who exhibit an increased risk of long-term unemployment. For this group, the brochure increases employment and earnings in the year after the intervention by roughly 4%. Given the low cost of the intervention, our findings indicate that targeted information provision can be a highly effective policy tool in the labor market.

Suggested Citation

  • Steffen Altmann & Armin Falk & Simon Jäger & Florian Zimmermann, 2015. "Learning about Job Search: A Field Experiment with Job Seekers in Germany," CESifo Working Paper Series 5355, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_5355
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    Cited by:

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    2. Michèle Belot & Philipp Kircher & Paul Muller, 2019. "Providing Advice to Jobseekers at Low Cost: An Experimental Study on Online Advice," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 86(4), pages 1411-1447.
    3. Girum Abebe & Stefano Caria & Marcel Fafchamps & Paolo Falco & Simon Franklin & Simon Quinn, 2017. "Anonymity or Distance? Job Search and Labour Market Exclusion in a Growing African City," SERC Discussion Papers 0224, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
    4. Michèle Belot & Philipp Kircher & Paul Muller, 2015. "Providing Advice to Job Seekers at Low Cost: An Experimental Study on On-Line Advice," CESifo Working Paper Series 5641, CESifo.
    5. Martin Abel & Rulof Burger & Eliana Carranza & Patrizio Piraino, 2019. "Bridging the Intention-Behavior Gap? The Effect of Plan-Making Prompts on Job Search and Employment," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 284-301, April.
    6. N. N., 2017. "WIFO-Monatsberichte, Heft 6/2017," WIFO Monatsberichte (monthly reports), WIFO, vol. 90(6), June.
    7. Huber, Martin & Kotevska, Ana & Stojcheska, Aleksandra Martinovska & Solovyeva, Anna, 2019. "Evaluating an Information Campaign about Rural Development Policies in FYR Macedonia," Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 48(1), pages 117-141, April.
    8. Abebe, Girum & Caria, Stefano & Fafchamps, Marcel & Falco, Paolo & Franklin, Simon & Quinn, Simon & Shilpi, Forhad, 2017. "Matching firms and workers in a field experiment in Ethiopia," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 86572, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    9. Jingcheng Fu & Martin Sefton & Richard Upward, 2017. "Social comparisons in job search: experimental evidence," Discussion Papers 2017-10, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    10. Beam, Emily A., 2016. "Do job fairs matter? Experimental evidence on the impact of job-fair attendance," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 32-40.
    11. Kassenboehmer, Sonja C. & Schatz, Sonja G., 2017. "Re-employment expectations and realisations: Prediction errors and behavioural responses," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 161-176.
    12. Eva M. Berger & Günther König & Henning Mueller & Felix Schmidt & Daniel Schunk, 2016. "Self-Regulation Training, Labor Market Reintegration of Unemployed Individuals, and Locus of Control - Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment," CESifo Working Paper Series 6246, CESifo.
    13. Eva M. Berger & Günther König & Henning Mueller & Felix Schmidt & Daniel Schunk, 2016. "Self-Regulation Training, Labor Market Reintegration of Unemployed Individuals, and Locus of Control - Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment," CESifo Working Paper Series 6246, CESifo.
    14. Johannes F. Schmieder & Till von Wachter, 2016. "The Effects of Unemployment Insurance Benefits: New Evidence and Interpretation," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 8(1), pages 547-581, October.
    15. Eva m. Berger & Guenther Koenig & Henning Müller & Felix Schmidt & Daniel Schunk, 2017. "Self-Regulation Training and Job Search Effort: A Natural Field Experiment within an Active Labor Market Program," Working Papers 1712, Gutenberg School of Management and Economics, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz.
    16. Roberto Galbiati & Aurélie Ouss & Arnaud Philippe, 2015. "Jobs, News and Re-offending after Incarceration," Sciences Po publications 41, Sciences Po.
    17. Sascha Drahs & Luke Haywood & Amelie Schiprowski, 2018. "Job Search with Subjective Wage Expectations," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1725, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    18. Rainer Eppel & Helmut Mahringer & Petra Sauer, 2017. "Österreich 2025 – Arbeitslosigkeit und die Rolle der aktiven Arbeitsmarktpolitik," WIFO Monatsberichte (monthly reports), WIFO, vol. 90(6), pages 493-505, June.
    19. McGee, Andrew & McGee, Peter, 2016. "Search, effort, and locus of control," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 126(PA), pages 89-101.
    20. Denisova-Schmidt, Elena & Huber, Martin & Prytula, Yaroslav, 2015. "An experimental evaluation of an anti-corruption intervention among Ukrainian university students," FSES Working Papers 462, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, University of Freiburg/Fribourg Switzerland.
    21. Csaba Bekesi & Florica Stefanescu & Delia Bekesi, 2017. "Looking For A Job," Annals of Faculty of Economics, University of Oradea, Faculty of Economics, vol. 1(2), pages 60-73, December.
    22. Stephan, Gesine & van den Berg, Gerard & Homrighausen, Pia, 2016. "Randomizing information on a targeted wage support program for older workers: A field experiment," VfS Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145487, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    23. Abebe, Girum & Caria, Stefano & Fafchamps, Marcel & Falco, Paolo & Franklin, Simon & Quinn, Simon, 2017. "Anonymity of distance? Job search and labour market exclusion in a growing African city," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 86573, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    24. Elisa Guglielminetti & Rafael Lalive & Philippe Ruh & Etienne Wasmer, 2015. "Spatial search strategies of job seekers and the role of unemployment insurance," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/4n249fe9fu9, Sciences Po.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    job search; information provision; unemployment; field experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D04 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Policy: Formulation; Implementation; Evaluation
    • D83 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Search; Learning; Information and Knowledge; Communication; Belief; Unawareness
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • J68 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Public Policy

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