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

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  • 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 Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_5355
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    Cited by:

    1. Landeghem, Bert Van & Cörvers, Frank & Grip, Andries de, 2017. "Is there a rationale to contact the unemployed right from the start? Evidence from a natural field experiment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 158-168.
    2. Hall, Caroline & Kotakorpi, Kaisa & Liljeberg, Linus & Pirttilä, Jukka, 2016. "Screening through activation: differential effects of a youth activation programme," Working Paper Series 2016:15, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    3. Michele Belot & Philipp Kircher & Paul Muller, 2015. "Providing Advice to Job Seekers at Low Cost: An Experimental Study on On-Line Advice," ESE Discussion Papers 262, Edinburgh School of Economics, University of Edinburgh.
    4. 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.
    5. Abel,Simon Martin & Burger,Rulof Petrus & Carranza,Eliana & Piraino,Patrizio, 2017. "Bridging the intention-behavior gap ? the effect of plan-making prompts on job search and employment," Policy Research Working Paper Series 8181, The World Bank.
    6. 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.
    7. Roberto Galbiati & Aurélie Ouss & Arnaud Philippe, 2015. "Jobs, News and Re-offending after Incarceration," Sciences Po publications 41, Sciences Po.
    8. 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.
    9. repec:wfo:monber:y:2017:i:6 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. repec:wfo:monber:y:2017:i:6:p:493-505 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. McGee, Andrew & McGee, Peter, 2016. "Search, effort, and locus of control," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 126(PA), pages 89-101.
    12. Girum Abebe & Stefano Caria & Marcel Fafchamps & Paolo Falco & Simon Franklin & Simon Quinn & Forhad Shilpi, 2017. "Matching Firms and Workers in a Field Experiment in Ethiopia," SERC Discussion Papers 0225, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
    13. 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.
    14. 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.
    15. Stephan, Gesine & van den Berg, Gerard & Homrighausen, Pia, 2016. "Randomizing information on a targeted wage support program for older workers: A field experiment," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145487, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    16. 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.
    17. Eva M. Berger & Guenther Koenig & 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," Working Papers 1622, Gutenberg School of Management and Economics, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, revised 2016.
    18. 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.

    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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