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Caseworker's Discretion and the Effectiveness of Welfare-to-Work Programs

Author

Listed:
  • Bolhaar, Jonneke

    () (CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis)

  • Ketel, Nadine

    () (University of Gothenburg)

  • van der Klaauw, Bas

    () (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)

Abstract

In this paper we focus on the role of caseworkers in the assignment and take-up of welfare-to-work programs. We conduct a field experiment that generates exogenous variation in the assignment to different policy regimes to caseworkers. The experiment allows us to provide evidence on the effectiveness of welfare-to-work programs and to study how caseworkers exploit their discretion in assigning these programs to welfare recipients. We find substantial heterogeneity in how caseworkers assign welfare-to-work programs. Participation in the experiment and learning about the effectiveness of the different programs does not induce caseworkers to focus more on the effective programs. This implies that obtaining knowledge about welfare-to-work programs is not enough to improve policy, also effort on implementation is required.

Suggested Citation

  • Bolhaar, Jonneke & Ketel, Nadine & van der Klaauw, Bas, 2018. "Caseworker's Discretion and the Effectiveness of Welfare-to-Work Programs," IZA Discussion Papers 11666, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp11666
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Gordon B. Dahl & Andreas Ravndal Kostøl & Magne Mogstad, 2014. "Family Welfare Cultures," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 129(4), pages 1711-1752.
    5. Lechner, Michael & Smith, Jeffrey, 2007. "What is the value added by caseworkers?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 135-151, April.
    6. Graversen, Brian Krogh & van Ours, Jan C., 2008. "How to help unemployed find jobs quickly: Experimental evidence from a mandatory activation program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(10-11), pages 2020-2035, October.
    7. Stefanie Behncke & Markus Frölich & Michael Lechner, 2009. "Targeting Labour Market Programmes - Results from a Randomized Experiment," Swiss Journal of Economics and Statistics (SJES), Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics (SSES), vol. 145(III), pages 221-268, September.
    8. Nicole Maestas & Kathleen J. Mullen & Alexander Strand, 2013. "Does Disability Insurance Receipt Discourage Work? Using Examiner Assignment to Estimate Causal Effects of SSDI Receipt," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(5), pages 1797-1829, August.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    field experiment; welfare-to-work; caseworkers;

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • J08 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics Policies

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