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A Letter and Encouragement: Does Information Increase Post-Secondary Enrollment of UI Recipients?


  • Andrew Barr
  • Sarah Turner


For individuals who experience job loss, enrollment in post-secondary programs may provide an opportunity to improve future employment outcomes. However, decisions to enroll may be hampered by insufficient information about the benefits and costs and the necessary steps and assistance available to facilitate such investments. Using variation in the dissemination and timing of letters sent to UI recipients containing this information, we find that individuals sent the information are 40% more likely to enroll. These findings suggest that well-coordinated information interventions delivered with institutional support may be more effective than raising the generosity of existing government programs in increasing participation.

Suggested Citation

  • Andrew Barr & Sarah Turner, 2017. "A Letter and Encouragement: Does Information Increase Post-Secondary Enrollment of UI Recipients?," NBER Working Papers 23374, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23374
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kory Kroft & Fabian Lange & Matthew J. Notowidigdo & Lawrence F. Katz, 2016. "Long-Term Unemployment and the Great Recession: The Role of Composition, Duration Dependence, and Nonparticipation," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(S1), pages 7-54.
    2. Susan M. Dynarski & Judith E. Scott-Clayton, 2008. "Complexity and Targeting in Federal Student Aid: A Quantitative Analysis," NBER Chapters,in: Tax Policy and the Economy, Volume 22, pages 109-150 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Andrew Barr, 2015. "From the Battlefield to the Schoolyard: The Short- Term Impact of the Post- 9/11 GI Bill," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 50(3), pages 580-613.
    4. Barr, Andrew & Turner, Sarah, 2015. "Out of work and into school: Labor market policies and college enrollment during the Great Recession," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 63-73.
    5. Saurabh Bhargava & Dayanand Manoli, 2015. "Psychological Frictions and the Incomplete Take-Up of Social Benefits: Evidence from an IRS Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(11), pages 3489-3529, November.
    6. Marianne Bertrand & Sendhil Mullainathan & Eldar Shafir, 2004. "A Behavioral-Economics View of Poverty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 419-423, May.
    7. Heinrich, Carolyn J. & Mueser, Peter R. & Troske, Kenneth & Jeon, Kyung-Seong & Kahvecioglu, Daver C., 2009. "New Estimates of Public Employment and Training Program Net Impacts: A Nonexperimental Evaluation of the Workforce Investment Act Program," IZA Discussion Papers 4569, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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