IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ces/ceswps/_9609.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Fostering Soft Skills in Active Labor Market Programs: Evidence from a Large-Scale RCT

Author

Listed:
  • Analia Schlosser
  • Yannay Shanan

Abstract

The long-term unemployed sometimes lack basic soft skills needed to enter and succeed in the labor market. We examine whether it is possible to develop or enhance these skills among adults by using a large-scale randomized control trial (RCT) to evaluate the effectiveness of an Active Labor Market Program (ALMP) that targets income-support claimants in Israel. In this program, participants receive personalized treatment composed of weekly sessions with occupational trainers and motivational group workshops. We find that the program increased participants’ employment rate by 8 percentage points (a 24% increase) and decreased income support recipiency by 11 percentage points (a 26% decline) relative to the control group. The effects are larger among individuals with a lower attachment to the labor market and lower likelihood of employment such as high-school dropouts and those with a longer history of welfare dependence. Income from work increased both for treated individuals and for their untreated spouses suggesting that the program had positive spillovers within the household. There is no evidence of displacement effects on the control group. The analysis of the mechanisms at work shows that the program had positive and significant effects on participants’ soft skills, mainly among those with no recent employment spell, who gradually joined the labor market after participation in the program. In contrast, it induced individuals who had a recent employment spell to go back to employment soon after their allocation to the program. The program effects persist in the long run, even during the Covid-19 crisis, about five to six years after its implementation. We conclude that unemployed income-support claimants with no recent employment spells can benefit considerably from interventions that aim to improve their soft skills.

Suggested Citation

  • Analia Schlosser & Yannay Shanan, 2022. "Fostering Soft Skills in Active Labor Market Programs: Evidence from a Large-Scale RCT," CESifo Working Paper Series 9609, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_9609
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.cesifo.org/DocDL/cesifo1_wp9609.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Bruno Crépon & Esther Duflo & Marc Gurgand & Roland Rathelot & Philippe Zamora, 2013. "Do Labor Market Policies have Displacement Effects? Evidence from a Clustered Randomized Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 128(2), pages 531-580.
    2. Humphries, John Eric & Kosse, Fabian, 2017. "On the interpretation of non-cognitive skills – What is being measured and why it matters," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 136(C), pages 174-185.
    3. Pieter Gautier & Paul Muller & Bas van der Klaauw & Michael Rosholm & Michael Svarer, 2018. "Estimating Equilibrium Effects of Job Search Assistance," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(4), pages 1073-1125.
    4. Christopher Blattman & Julian C. Jamison & Margaret Sheridan, 2017. "Reducing Crime and Violence: Experimental Evidence from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Liberia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 107(4), pages 1165-1206, April.
    5. Sara B. Heller & Anuj K. Shah & Jonathan Guryan & Jens Ludwig & Sendhil Mullainathan & Harold A. Pollack, 2017. "Thinking, Fast and Slow? Some Field Experiments to Reduce Crime and Dropout in Chicago," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 132(1), pages 1-54.
    6. David Card & Jochen Kluve & Andrea Weber, 2018. "What Works? A Meta Analysis of Recent Active Labor Market Program Evaluations," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 16(3), pages 894-931.
    7. Charles F. Manski, 1993. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: The Reflection Problem," The Review of Economic Studies, Review of Economic Studies Ltd, vol. 60(3), pages 531-542.
    8. Peter Dolton & Donal O'Neill, 2002. "The Long-Run Effects of Unemployment Monitoring and Work-Search Programs: Experimental Evidence from the United Kingdom," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(2), pages 381-403, Part.
    9. repec:hal:pseose:halshs-00840901 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Alberto Abadie & Matthew M. Chingos & Martin R. West, 2018. "Endogenous Stratification in Randomized Experiments," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 100(4), pages 567-580, October.
    11. Patrick Bayer & Stephen L. Ross & Giorgio Topa, 2008. "Place of Work and Place of Residence: Informal Hiring Networks and Labor Market Outcomes," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(6), pages 1150-1196, December.
    12. Bruno Crépon & Gerard J. van den Berg, 2016. "Active Labor Market Policies," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 8(1), pages 521-546, October.
    13. Kautz, Tim & Heckman, James J. & Diris, Ron & ter Weel, Bas & Borghans, Lex, 2014. "Fostering and Measuring Skills: Improving Cognitive and Non-Cognitive Skills to Promote Lifetime Success," IZA Discussion Papers 8696, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    14. Alberto Abadie & Susan Athey & Guido W Imbens & Jeffrey M Wooldridge, 2023. "When Should You Adjust Standard Errors for Clustering?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 138(1), pages 1-35.
    15. Heckman, James J. & Kautz, Tim, 2012. "Hard evidence on soft skills," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 451-464.
    16. Kluve, Jochen, 2010. "The effectiveness of European active labor market programs," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(6), pages 904-918, December.
    17. Judith K. Hellerstein & Melissa McInerney & David Neumark, 2011. "Neighbors and Coworkers: The Importance of Residential Labor Market Networks," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(4), pages 659-695.
    18. David H. Greenberg & Charles Michalopoulos & Philip K. Robins, 2003. "A Meta-Analysis of Government-Sponsored Training Programs," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 57(1), pages 31-53, October.
    19. Nicolai T. Borgen, 2016. "Fixed effects in unconditional quantile regression," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 16(2), pages 403-415, June.
    20. Beatrix Eugster & Rafael Lalive & Andreas Steinhauer & Josef Zweimüller, 2017. "Culture, Work Attitudes, and Job Search: Evidence from the Swiss Language Border," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 15(5), pages 1056-1100.
    21. Carneiro, Pedro & Heckman, James J., 2003. "Human Capital Policy," IZA Discussion Papers 821, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    22. James J. Heckman & Jora Stixrud & Sergio Urzua, 2006. "The Effects of Cognitive and Noncognitive Abilities on Labor Market Outcomes and Social Behavior," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 411-482, July.
    23. Erik Lindqvist & Roine Vestman, 2011. "The Labor Market Returns to Cognitive and Noncognitive Ability: Evidence from the Swedish Enlistment," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 101-128, January.
    24. Sergio Firpo & Nicole M. Fortin & Thomas Lemieux, 2009. "Unconditional Quantile Regressions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(3), pages 953-973, May.
    25. Jeffrey R Kling & Jeffrey B Liebman & Lawrence F Katz, 2007. "Experimental Analysis of Neighborhood Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 75(1), pages 83-119, January.
    26. Brunello, Giorgio & Schlotter, Martin, 2011. "Non Cognitive Skills and Personality Traits: Labour Market Relevance and their Development in Education & Training Systems," IZA Discussion Papers 5743, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    27. Groh, Matthew & Krishnan, Nandini & McKenzie, David & Vishwanath, Tara, 2012. "Soft skills or hard cash ? the impact of training and wage subsidy programs on female youth employment in Jordan," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6141, The World Bank.
    28. Dan A. Black & Jeffrey A. Smith & Mark C. Berger & Brett J. Noel, 2003. "Is the Threat of Reemployment Services More Effective Than the Services Themselves? Evidence from Random Assignment in the UI System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1313-1327, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Calero, Carla & Gonzalez Diez, Veronica & Soares, Yuri S.D. & Kluve, Jochen & Corseuil, Carlos Henrique, 2017. "Can arts-based interventions enhance labor market outcomes among youth? Evidence from a randomized trial in Rio de Janeiro," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 131-142.
    2. Marcenaro-Gutierrez, O.D. & Lopez-Agudo, L.A. & Henriques, C.O., 2021. "Are soft skills conditioned by conflicting factors? A multiobjective programming approach to explore the trade-offs," Economic Analysis and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 18-40.
    3. Krishnakumar, Jaya & Nogales, Ricardo, 2020. "Education, skills and a good job: A multidimensional econometric analysis," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 128(C).
    4. Dayanand S. Manoli & Marios Michaelides & Ankur Patel, 2018. "Long-Term and Heterogeneous Effects of Job-Search Assistance," NBER Working Papers 24422, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. María Ladrón de Guevara Rodríguez & Oscar David Marcenaro-Gutierrez & Luis Alejandro Lopez-Agudo, 2023. "On the Gender Gap of Soft-Skills: the Spanish Case," Child Indicators Research, Springer;The International Society of Child Indicators (ISCI), vol. 16(1), pages 167-197, February.
    6. Girum Abebe & A Stefano Caria & Marcel Fafchamps & Paolo Falco & Simon Franklin & Simon Quinn, 2021. "Anonymity or Distance? Job Search and Labour Market Exclusion in a Growing African City [Endogenous Stratification in Randomized Experiments]," The Review of Economic Studies, Review of Economic Studies Ltd, vol. 88(3), pages 1279-1310.
    7. John A. List & Fatemeh Momeni & Yves Zenou, 2020. "The Social Side of Early Human Capital Formation: Using a Field Experiment to Estimate the Causal Impact of Neighborhoods," Working Papers 2020-187, Becker Friedman Institute for Research In Economics.
    8. List, John A. & Momeni, Fatemeh & Zenou, Yves, 2019. "Are Estimates of Early Education Programs Too Pessimistic? Evidence from a Large-Scale Field Experiment that Causally Measures Neighbor Effects," Working Paper Series 1293, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    9. van der Klaauw, Bas & Ziegler, Lennart, 2019. "A Field Experiment on Labor Market Speeddates for Unemployed Workers," IZA Discussion Papers 12140, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. Zenou, Yves & List, John & Momeni, Fatemeh, 2019. "Are Estimates of Early Education Programs Too Pessimistic? Evidence from a Large-Scale Field Experiment that Causally Measures," CEPR Discussion Papers 13725, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. Judith K. Hellerstein & David Neumark, 2011. "Employment in Black Urban Labor Markets: Problems and Solutions," NBER Working Papers 16986, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. 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.
    13. Moeeni, Safoura & Wei, Feng, 2022. "The labor market returns to unobserved skills: Evidence from a gender quota," CLEF Working Paper Series 53, Canadian Labour Economics Forum (CLEF), University of Waterloo.
    14. 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.
    15. Jesse Rothstein & Till von Wachter, 2016. "Social Experiments in the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 22585, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Bennett, Fidel & Escudero, Verónica & Liepmann, Hannah & Podjanin, Ana, 2022. "Using Online Vacancy and Job Applicants' Data to Study Skills Dynamics," VfS Annual Conference 2022 (Basel): Big Data in Economics 264023, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    17. Berger, Eva M. & Hermes, Henning & Koenig, Guenther & Schmidt, Felix & Schunk, Daniel, 2022. "Self-regulation training and job search input: A natural field experiment within an active labor market program," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 98(C).
    18. Malory Rennoir & Ilan Tojerow, 2019. "Évaluation de l’ensemble du dispositif de contrôle de la disponibilité des chômeurs, tel que mis en œuvre au sein du Forem," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/292150, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    19. John A. List & Fatemeh Momeni & Yves Zenou, 2020. "The Social Side of Early Human Capital Formation: Using a Field Experiment to Estimate the Causal Impact of Neighborhoods," Working Papers 2020-187, Becker Friedman Institute for Research In Economics.
    20. Melinda Petre, 2018. "Are Employers Omniscient? Employer Learning About Cognitive and Noncognitive Skills," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(3), pages 323-360, July.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    ALMP; noncognitive skills; soft skills; program evaluation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_9609. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Klaus Wohlrabe (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/cesifde.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.