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The Dilemma of Delegating Search: Budgeting in Public Employment Services


  • Addison, John T.

    () (University of South Carolina)

  • Altemeyer-Bartscher, Martin

    () (Chemnitz University of Technology)

  • Kuhn, Thomas

    () (Chemnitz University of Technology)


The poor performance often attributed to many public employment services may be explained in part by a delegation problem between the central office and local job centers. In markets characterized by frictions, job centers function as match-makers, linking job seekers with relevant vacancies. Because their search intensity in contacting employers and collecting data is not verifiable by the central authority, a typical moral hazard problem can arise. To overcome the delegation problem and provide high-powered incentives for high levels of search effort on the part of job centers, we propose output-related schemes that assign greater staff capacity to agencies achieving high strike rates.

Suggested Citation

  • Addison, John T. & Altemeyer-Bartscher, Martin & Kuhn, Thomas, 2010. "The Dilemma of Delegating Search: Budgeting in Public Employment Services," IZA Discussion Papers 5170, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5170

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Richard Rogerson & Robert Shimer & Randall Wright, 2004. "Search-Theoretic Models of the Labor Market-A Survey," NBER Working Papers 10655, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Christopher A. Pissarides & Barbara Petrongolo, 2001. "Looking into the Black Box: A Survey of the Matching Function," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(2), pages 390-431, June.
    3. John T. Addison & Pedro Portugal, 2002. "Job search methods and outcomes," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 54(3), pages 505-533, July.
    4. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre & Macho, Ines & Rey, Patrick & Salanie, Bernard, 1994. "Repeated moral hazard: The role of memory, commitment, and the access to credit markets," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(8), pages 1527-1553, October.
    5. 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 637-655, June.
    6. 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 443-467, August.
    7. Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf, 1991. "Some Micro Evidence on Unemployment Persistence," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 53(1), pages 27-43, February.
    8. Merz, Monika, 1995. "Search in the labor market and the real business cycle," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 269-300, November.
    9. Jones, Stephen R G, 1989. "Job Research Methods, Intensity and Effects," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 51(3), pages 277-296, August.
    10. Gronau, Reuben, 1971. "Information and Frictional Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 61(3), pages 290-301, June.
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    More about this item


    matching unemployment; public employment service; delegation problem; moral hazard; search theory;

    JEL classification:

    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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