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Is the Threat of Training More Effective Than Training Itself? Experimental Evidence from the UI System

This paper examines the effect of the Worker Profiling and Reemployment Services (WPRS) system. This program "profiles" UI claimants to determine their probability of benefit exhaustion (or expected spell duration) and then provides mandatory employment and training services to claimants with high predicted probabilities (or long expected spells). Using a unique experimental design, we estimate that the WPRS program reduces mean weeks of UI benefits receipt by about 2.2 weeks, reduces mean UI benefits received by about $143, and increases subsequent earnings by over $1,050. Much (but not all) of the effect results from a sharp increase in early exits from UI in the experimental treatment group compared to the experimental control group. These exits coincide with claimants finding out about their mandatory program obligations rather than with actual receipt of employment and training services. While the program targets those with the highest expected durations of UI benefit receipt, we find no evidence that these claimants benefit disproportionately from the program. In addition, we find strong evidence against the "common effect" assumption, as the estimated treatment effect differs dramatically across quantiles of the untreated outcome distribution. Overall, the profiling program appears to successfully reduce the moral hazard associated with the UI program without increasing the take-up rate.

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File URL: http://economics.uwo.ca/research/department_working_papers_docs/wp1999/wp9913.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics in its series UWO Department of Economics Working Papers with number 9913.

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Date of creation: Nov 1999
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Handle: RePEc:uwo:uwowop:9913
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Department of Economics, Reference Centre, Social Science Centre, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada N6A 5C2

Phone: 519-661-2111 Ext.85244
Web page: http://economics.uwo.ca/research/research_papers/department_working_papers.html

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  1. Paul T. Decker & Christopher J. L'Leary, 1995. "Evaluating Pooled Evidence from the Reemployment Bonus Experiments," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 30(3), pages 534-550.
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  12. Patricia M. Anderson & Bruce D. Meyer, 1997. "Unemployment Insurance Takeup Rates and the After-Tax Value of Benefits," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(3), pages 913-937.
  13. James Heckman & Hidehiko Ichimura & Jeffrey Smith & Petra Todd, 1998. "Characterizing Selection Bias Using Experimental Data," NBER Working Papers 6699, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  24. repec:mpr:mprres:7757 is not listed on IDEAS
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