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Does Job-Search Assistance Affect Search Effort and Outcomes? A Microeconometric Analysis of Public versus Private Search Methods

  • Fougère, Denis


    (Sciences Po, Paris)

  • Pradel, Jacqueline


    (University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne)

  • Roger, Muriel



In this paper, we examine the disincentive effects of the public employment service on the search effort of unemployed workers and on their exit rate from unemployment. For that purpose, we specify a structural search model with fixed and variable costs of search in which unemployed workers select their optimal search intensity given the exogenous arrival rate of job offers coming from the public employment agency. Because the theoretical effect of an increase in this exogenous job offer arrival rate on the structural exit rate from unemployment is ambiguous, we estimate this model using individual unemployment duration data. Our results show that the exit rate from unemployment increases with the arrival rate of job contacts obtained by the public employment service, especially for low-educated and low-skilled workers. They also show that the search effort is more costly for low-educated women and low-skilled adult unemployed workers. This last result suggests that a public employment agency that matches searchers and employers is beneficial, in the sense that it saves searchers in terms of search costs they would otherwise bear.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 1825.

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Length: 54 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2005
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: European Economic Review, 2009, 53 (7), 846-869
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1825
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  1. Dale Mortensen, 1984. "Job Search and Labor Market Analysis," Discussion Papers 594, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  2. James J. Heckman & Christopher J. Flinn, 1982. "New Methods for Analyzing Structural Models of Labor Force Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 0856, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Koning, Pierre & Berg, Gerard J. van den & Ridder, Geert, 1997. "A structural analysis of job search methods and subsequent wages," Serie Research Memoranda 0036, VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Econometrics.
  4. Kenneth Burdett & Dale T. Mortensen, 1977. "Labor Supply Under Uncertainty," Discussion Papers 297, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  5. Holzer, Harry J, 1988. "Search Method Use by Unemployed Youth," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(1), pages 1-20, January.
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  7. Orley Ashenfelter & David Ashmore & Olivier Deschenes, 1998. "Do Unemployment Insurance Recipients Actively Seek Work? Randomized Trials in Four U.S. States," Working Papers 791, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  8. Bruce D. Meyer, 1995. "Lessons from the U.S. Unemployment Insurance Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(1), pages 91-131, March.
  9. Bas van der Klaauw & Aico van Vuuren & Peter Berkhout, 2004. "Labor Market Prospects, Search Intensity and the Transition from College to Work," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 04-064/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  10. van den Berg, Gerard J. & van der Klaauw, Bas, 2001. "Counseling and Monitoring of Unemployed Workers: Theory and Evidence from a Controlled Social Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 374, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  12. Benhabib, Jess & Bull, Clive, 1981. "Job Search: The Choice of Intensity," Working Papers 81-28, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  13. Lancaster, Tony & Chesher, Andrew, 1983. "An Econometric Analysis of Reservation Wages," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(6), pages 1661-76, November.
  14. Fougère, Denis & Kramarz, Francis & Magnac, Thierry, 2000. "Youth Employment Policies In France," CEPR Discussion Papers 2394, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Burdett, Kenneth & Ondrich, Jan I, 1985. "How Changes in Labor Demand Affect Unemployed Workers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages 1-10, January.
  16. Gregg, Paul & Wadsworth, Jonathan, 1996. "How Effective Are State Employment Agencies? Jobcentre Use and Job Matching in Britain," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 58(3), pages 443-67, August.
  17. Flinn, Christopher J & Heckman, James J, 1983. "Are Unemployment and Out of the Labor Force Behaviorally Distinct Labor Force States?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(1), pages 28-42, January.
  18. van Ours, J.C. & Lindeboom, M. & Renes, G., 1994. "Matching Employers and Workers : an Empirical Analysis on the Effectiveness of Search," Other publications TiSEM 3ada67c1-145c-42d0-8726-f, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  19. repec:oup:restud:v:57:y:1990:i:2:p:255-77 is not listed on IDEAS
  20. Gal, Shmuel & Landsberger, Michael & Levykson, Benny, 1981. "A Compound Strategy for Search in the Labor Market," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 22(3), pages 597-608, October.
  21. van den Berg, Gerard J, 1994. "The Effects of Changes of the Job Offer Arrival Rate on the Duration of Unemployment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(3), pages 478-98, July.
  22. John T. Addison & Pedro Portugal, 2002. "Job search methods and outcomes," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 54(3), pages 505-533, July.
  23. Bloemen, H.G., 1994. "Job search, search intensity and labour market transitions : An empirical exercise," Discussion Paper 1994-4, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  24. Blau, David M & Robins, Philip K, 1990. "Job Search Outcomes for the Employed and Unemployed," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(3), pages 637-55, June.
  25. van den Berg, Gerard J, 1990. "Search Behaviour, Transitions to Nonparticipation and the Duration of Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(402), pages 842-65, September.
  26. Harry J. Holzer, 1987. "Job search by employed and unemployed youth," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 40(4), pages 601-611, July.
  27. Barron, John M & Gilley, Otis W, 1981. "Job Search and Vacancy Contacts: Note," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 747-52, September.
  28. Hanemann, W Michael, 1984. "Discrete-Continuous Models of Consumer Demand," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 541-61, May.
  29. John M. Barron & Wesley Mellow, 1979. "Search Effort in the Labor Market," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 14(3), pages 389-404.
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