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What is the Value Added by Caseworkers?

  • Michael Lechner

    ()

  • Jeffrey Smith

    ()

We investigate the allocation of unemployed indivduals to different subprograms within Swiss active labour market policy by the caseworkers at local employment offices in Switzerland in 1998. We are particularly interested in whether the caseworkers allocate the unemplyoyed to services in ways that will maximize the program-induced changes in their employment probabilities. Our econometric analysis uses unusually informative informative data originating from administrative unemployment and social security records. For the estimation we apply matching estimators adapted to the case of multiple programmes. The number of oberservations in this database is sufficiently high to allow for this nonparametic analysis to be conducted in narrowly defined subgroups. Our results indicate that Swiss caseworkers do not do a very good job of allocating their unemployed clients to the subprograms so as to maximize their subsequent employment prospects. Our findings suggest one of three possible conclusions. First, caseworkers may be trying to solve the problem of allocating the unemployed to maximize their subsequent employment, but may lack the skills or knowledgde to do this. Second, caseworkers may have a goal other than efficiency, such as allocating the most expensive services to the least well-off clients, that is not explicit in the law regulating active labour market policies. Third, the distortions of the local decision process could be due to federal authorities imposing strict minimum participation requirements for the various programs at the regional level.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen in its series University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2003 with number 2003-05.

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Length: 55 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:usg:dp2003:2003-05
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  1. Dehejia, Rajeev H., 2005. "Program evaluation as a decision problem," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 125(1-2), pages 141-173.
  2. A. Smith, Jeffrey & E. Todd, Petra, 2005. "Does matching overcome LaLonde's critique of nonexperimental estimators?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 125(1-2), pages 305-353.
  3. Vassilis A. Hajivassiliou & Axel Borsch-Supan, 1990. "Smooth Unbiased Multivariate Probability Simulators for Maximum Likelihood Estimation of Limited Dependent Variable Models," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 960, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  4. Dan A. Black & Jeffrey A. Smith & Mark C. Berger & Brett J. Noel, 2003. "Is the Threat of Reemployment Services More Effective Than the Services Themselves? Evidence from Random Assignment in the UI System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1313-1327, September.
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  7. Fredriksson, Peter & Johansson, Per, 2002. "Program evaluation and random program starts," Working Paper Series 2003:1, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  8. Michael Lechner, 2002. "Program Heterogeneity And Propensity Score Matching: An Application To The Evaluation Of Active Labor Market Policies," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(2), pages 205-220, May.
  9. Charles F. Manski, 2001. "Designing Programs for Heterogeneous Populations: The Value of Covariate Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 103-106, May.
  10. Christopher J. O'Leary & Paul T. Decker & Stephen A. Wandner, 2002. "Targeting Reemployment Bonuses," Book chapters authored by Upjohn Institute researchers, in: Stephen A. Wandner & Randall W. Eberts & Christopher J. O'Leary (ed.), Targeting Employment Services, chapter 6, pages 161-182 W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  11. Michael Lechner, 2005. "Some practical issues in the evaluation of heterogeneous labour market programmes by matching methods," Labor and Demography 0505006, EconWPA.
  12. repec:mpr:mprres:3005 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Michael LECHNER, 2008. "A Note on the Common Support Problem in Applied Evaluation Studies," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 91-92, pages 217-235.
  14. Heckman, James J. & Lalonde, Robert J. & Smith, Jeffrey A., 1999. "The economics and econometrics of active labor market programs," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 31, pages 1865-2097 Elsevier.
  15. Lechner, Michael & Smith, Jeffrey, 2003. "What is the Value Added by Caseworkers?," CEPR Discussion Papers 3825, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. Geweke, John & Keane, Michael P & Runkle, David, 1994. "Alternative Computational Approaches to Inference in the Multinomial Probit Model," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(4), pages 609-32, November.
  17. Hugo Benitez-Silva & Moshe Buchinsky & John Rust, 2005. "How Large are the Classification Errors in the Social Security Disability Award Process?," Department of Economics Working Papers 05-02, Stony Brook University, Department of Economics.
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  19. Lechner, Michael, 1999. "Identification and Estimation of Causal Effects of Multiple Treatments Under the Conditional Independence Assumption," IZA Discussion Papers 91, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  20. Lechner, Michael, 1999. "Earnings and Employment Effects of Continuous Off-the-Job Training in East Germany after Unification," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 17(1), pages 74-90, January.
  21. Gerfin, Michael & Lechner, Michael, 2000. "Microeconometric Evaluation of the Active Labour Market Policy in Switzerland," IZA Discussion Papers 154, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  22. Russell Davidson & James G. MacKinnon, 1982. "Convenient Specification Tests for Logit and Probit Models," Working Papers 514, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  23. Abbring, Jaap H. & van den Berg, Gerard J., 2003. "Analyzing the Effect of Dynamically Assigned Treatments Using Duration Models, Binary Treatment Models, and Panel Data Models," IZA Discussion Papers 831, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  24. Guido W. Imbens, 1999. "The Role of the Propensity Score in Estimating Dose-Response Functions," NBER Technical Working Papers 0237, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Sianesi, Barbara, 2001. "An evaluation of the active labour market programmes in Sweden," Working Paper Series 2001:5, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  26. Orme, Christopher, 1988. "The Calculation of the Information Matrix Test for Binary Data Models," The Manchester School of Economic & Social Studies, University of Manchester, vol. 56(4), pages 370-76, December.
  27. Mark C. Berger & Dan Black & Jeffrey Smith, 2000. "Evaluating Profiling as a Means of Allocating Government Services," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 200018, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
  28. 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.
  29. Bera, Anil K & Jarque, Carlos M & Lee, Lung-Fei, 1984. "Testing the Normality Assumption in Limited Dependent Variable Models," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 25(3), pages 563-78, October.
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