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Is Counseling Welfare Recipients Cost-Effective ? Lessons from a Random Experiment

Author

Listed:
  • Bruno Crépon

    () (CREST and JPAL)

  • Marc Gurgand

    () (Paris School of Economics, CREST and JPAL)

  • Thierry Kamionka

    () (CREST-CNRS)

  • Laurent Lequien

    () (DARES and CREST)

Abstract

Job-search counseling is a potentially desirable labor market policy because it reduces market frictions, but it is strongly work-intensive as it requires repeated individual contact between job-seeker and case worker. Although it has become widely used, little is known about its cost-efficiency. This paper uses an experiment where individuals who have been on welfare for more than two years in a French district were randomly allocated to a counseling firm. We show that the policy causal impact is to increase employment and decrease the amounts of welfare transfers paid to the beneficiaries. However, the effects are small relative to the cost charged by the providing firm. Therefore, the net public cost, accounting for gains in welfare transfer payment, remains larger than reason- able social values that can be attached to having a former welfare recipient on a job. Although this is true for the policy as a whole, as implemented in this experiment, there is significant heterogeneity. In particular, it is more efficient and more cost-effective on a population of limited seniority on welfare

Suggested Citation

  • Bruno Crépon & Marc Gurgand & Thierry Kamionka & Laurent Lequien, 2013. "Is Counseling Welfare Recipients Cost-Effective ? Lessons from a Random Experiment," Working Papers 2013-01, Center for Research in Economics and Statistics.
  • Handle: RePEc:crs:wpaper:2013-01
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gerard J. van den Berg & Bas van der Klaauw, 2006. "Counseling And Monitoring Of Unemployed Workers: Theory And Evidence From A Controlled Social Experiment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 47(3), pages 895-936, August.
    2. David Card & Jochen Kluve & Andrea Weber, 2010. "Active Labour Market Policy Evaluations: A Meta-Analysis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(548), pages 452-477, November.
    3. Jan Boone & Peter Fredriksson & Bertil Holmlund & Jan C. van Ours, 2007. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance with Monitoring and Sanctions," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(518), pages 399-421, March.
    4. Bruno Crépon & Muriel Dejemeppe & Marc Gurgand, 2005. "Counseling the Unemployed : Does it Lower Unemployment Duration and Recurrence ?," Working Papers 2005-23, Center for Research in Economics and Statistics.
    5. Centeno, Luis & Centeno, Mário & Novo, Álvaro A., 2009. "Evaluating job-search programs for old and young individuals: Heterogeneous impact on unemployment duration," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 12-25, January.
    6. Richard Blundell & Monica Costa Dias & Costas Meghir & John Van Reenen, 2004. "Evaluating the Employment Impact of a Mandatory Job Search Program," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(4), pages 569-606, June.
    7. Bruno Crépon & Muriel Dejemeppe & Marc Gurgand, 2005. "Counseling the unemployed: does it lower unemployment duration and recurrence?," Working Papers halshs-00590769, HAL.
    8. Luc Behaghel & Bruno Crépon & Marc Gurgand, 2009. "Evaluation d'impact de l'accompagnement des demandeurs d'emploi par les Opérateurs Privés de Placement et le programme Cap Vers l'Entreprise," PSE Working Papers halshs-00754917, HAL.
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    Cited by:

    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, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(2), pages 531-580.

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