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Is the Threat of Training More Effective than Training Itself? Experimental Evidence from the UI System

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  • Jeffrey Smith

    (University of Western Ontario)

Abstract

This paper examines the effect of the Worker Profiling and Reemployment Services (WPRS) system. This program "profiles" UI claimants to determine their probability of benefit exhaustion (or expected spell duration) and then provides mandatory employment and training services to claimants with high predicted probabilities (or long expected spells). Using a unique experimental design, we estimate that the WPRS program reduces mean weeks of UI benefit receipt by about 2.2 weeks, reduces mean UI benefits received by about $143, and increases subsequent earnings by over $1,050. Much (but not all) of the effect results from a sharp increase in early exits from UI in the experimental treatment group compared to the experimental control group. These exits coincide with claimants finding out about their mandatory program obligations rather than with actual receipt of employment and training services. While the program targets those with the highest expected durations of UI benefit receipt, we find no evidence that these claimants benefit disproportionately from the program. In addition, we find strong evidence against the "common effect" assumption, as the estimated treatment effect differs dramatically across quantiles of the untreated outcome distribution. Overall, the profiling program appears to successfully reduce the moral hazard associated with the UI program without increasing the take-up rate.

Suggested Citation

  • Jeffrey Smith, 2000. "Is the Threat of Training More Effective than Training Itself? Experimental Evidence from the UI System," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1660, Econometric Society.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecm:wc2000:1660
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Robert Breunig & Deborah A. Cobb‐Clark & Yvonne Dunlop & Marion Terrill, 2003. "Assisting the Long‐Term Unemployed: Results from a Randomised Trial," The Economic Record, The Economic Society of Australia, vol. 79(244), pages 84-102, March.
    3. Jan C. van Ours, 2007. "Compulsion in active labour market programmes," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 202(1), pages 67-78, October.
    4. Peter Fredriksson & Bertil Holmlund, 2006. "Improving Incentives in Unemployment Insurance: A Review of Recent Research," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(3), pages 357-386, July.
    5. Rafael Lalive & Jan C. van Ours & Josef Zweimueller, "undated". "The Impact of Active Labor Market Programs on the Duration of Unemployment," IEW - Working Papers 041, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    6. Martin, John P. & Grubb, David, 2001. "What works and for whom: a review of OECD countries' experiences with active labour market policies," Working Paper Series 2001:14, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    7. 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.

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