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What is the Value Added by Caseworkers?

  • Lechner, Michael
  • Smith, Jeffrey

We investigate the allocation of unemployed individuals to different subprograms within Swiss active labour market policy by the caseworkers at local employment offices in Switzerland in 1998. We are particularly interested in whether the caseworkers allocate the unemployed to services in ways that will maximize the program-induced changes in their employment probabilities. Our econometric analysis uses unusually informative data originating from administrative unemployment and social security records. For the estimation we apply matching estimators adapted to the case of multiple programmes. The number of observations in this database is sufficiently high to allow for this nonparametric analysis to be conducted in narrowly defined subgroups. Our results indicate that Swiss caseworkers do not do a very good job of allocating their unemployed clients to the subprograms so as to maximize their subsequent employment prospects. Our findings suggest one of three possible conclusions. First, case-workers may be trying to solve the problem of allocating the unemployed to maximize their subsequent employment, but may lack the skills or knowledge to do this. Second, caseworkers may have a goal other than efficiency, such as allocating the most expensive services to the least well-off clients, that is not explicit in the law regulating active labour market policies. Third, the distortions of the local decision process could be due to federal authorities imposing strict minimum participation requirements for the various programs at the regional level.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 3825.

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Date of creation: Mar 2003
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3825
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  1. Charles Manski, 2003. "Statistical treatment rules for heterogeneous populations," CeMMAP working papers CWP03/03, Centre for Microdata Methods and Practice, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  2. Michael Lechner, 2002. "Some practical issues in the evaluation of heterogeneous labour market programmes by matching methods," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 165(1), pages 59-82.
  3. White, Halbert, 1982. "Maximum Likelihood Estimation of Misspecified Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(1), pages 1-25, January.
  4. Dehejia, Rajeev H., 2005. "Program evaluation as a decision problem," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 125(1-2), pages 141-173.
  5. A. Smith, Jeffrey & E. Todd, Petra, 2005. "Does matching overcome LaLonde's critique of nonexperimental estimators?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 125(1-2), pages 305-353.
  6. Hugo Benitez-Silva & Moshe Buchinsky & John Rust, 2004. "How Large are the Classification Errors in the Social Security Disability Award Process?," NBER Working Papers 10219, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Abbring, Jaap H. & van den Berg, Gerard J., 2003. "Analyzing the Effect of Dynamically Assigned Treatments Using Duration Models, Binary Treatment Models, and Panel Data Models," IZA Discussion Papers 831, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Michael Lechner, 2002. "Program Heterogeneity And Propensity Score Matching: An Application To The Evaluation Of Active Labor Market Policies," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(2), pages 205-220, May.
  9. Charles F. Manski, 2001. "Designing Programs for Heterogeneous Populations: The Value of Covariate Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 103-106, May.
  10. Lechner, Michael, 1999. "Earnings and Employment Effects of Continuous Off-the-Job Training in East Germany after Unification," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 17(1), pages 74-90, January.
  11. John Geweke & Michael Keane & David Runkle, 1994. "Alternative computational approaches to inference in the multinomial probit model," Staff Report 170, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  12. William C. Horrace & Peter Schmidt, 2000. "Multiple comparisons with the best, with economic applications," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 15(1), pages 1-26.
  13. Christopher J OLeary Paul T Decker Stephen A Wandner, 2002. "Targeting Reemployment Bonuses," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 67fc970607294ed5af434a07e, Mathematica Policy Research.
  14. Gerfin, Michael & Lechner, Michael, 2000. "Microeconometric Evaluation of the Active Labour Market Policy in Switzerland," IZA Discussion Papers 154, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. Lechner, Michael & Smith, Jeffrey, 2007. "What is the value added by caseworkers?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 135-151, April.
  16. Vassilis A. Hajivassiliou & Axel Borsch-Supan, 1990. "Smooth Unbiased Multivariate Probability Simulators for Maximum Likelihood Estimation of Limited Dependent Variable Models," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 960, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  17. Sianesi, Barbara, 2001. "An evaluation of the active labour market programmes in Sweden," Working Paper Series 2001:5, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  18. 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.
  19. Bera, Anil K & Jarque, Carlos M & Lee, Lung-Fei, 1984. "Testing the Normality Assumption in Limited Dependent Variable Models," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 25(3), pages 563-78, October.
  20. Bell, Stephen H. & Orr, Larry L., 2002. "Screening (and creaming?) applicants to job training programs: the AFDC homemaker-home health aide demonstrations," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 279-301, April.
  21. Orme, Christopher, 1988. "The Calculation of the Information Matrix Test for Binary Data Models," The Manchester School of Economic & Social Studies, University of Manchester, vol. 56(4), pages 370-76, December.
  22. Russell Davidson & James G. MacKinnon, 1982. "Convenient Specification Tests for Logit and Probit Models," Working Papers 514, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  23. repec:mpr:mprres:3005 is not listed on IDEAS
  24. Michael LECHNER, 2008. "A Note on the Common Support Problem in Applied Evaluation Studies," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 91-92, pages 217-235.
  25. Lechner, Michael, 1999. "Identification and Estimation of Causal Effects of Multiple Treatments Under the Conditional Independence Assumption," IZA Discussion Papers 91, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  26. Fredriksson, Peter & Johansson, Per, 2002. "Program Evaluation and Random Program Starts," Working Paper Series 2003:1, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  27. Heckman, James J. & Lalonde, Robert J. & Smith, Jeffrey A., 1999. "The economics and econometrics of active labor market programs," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 31, pages 1865-2097 Elsevier.
  28. Guido W. Imbens, 1999. "The Role of the Propensity Score in Estimating Dose-Response Functions," NBER Technical Working Papers 0237, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  29. Mark C. Berger & Dan Black & Jeffrey Smith, 2000. "Evaluating Profiling as a Means of Allocating Government Services," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 200018, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
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