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Learning about Job Search: A Field Experiment with Job Seekers in Germany

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  • Altmann, Steffen
  • Falk, Armin
  • Jäger, Simon
  • Zimmermann, Florian

Abstract

We conduct a large-scale field experiment in the German labor market to investigate how information provision affects job seekers' employment prospects and labor market outcomes. Individuals assigned to the treatment group of our experiment received a brochure that informed them about job search strategies and the consequences of unemployment, and motivated them to actively look for new employment. We study the causal impact of the brochure by comparing labor market outcomes of treated and untreated job seekers in administrative data containing comprehensive information on individuals' employment status and earnings. While our treatment yields overall positive effects, these tend to be concentrated among job seekers who are at risk of being unemployed for an extended period of time. Specifically, the treatment effects in our overall sample are moderately positive but insignificant. At the same time, we do observe pronounced and statistically significant effects for individuals who exhibit an increased risk of long-term unemployment. For this group, the brochure increases employment and earnings in the year after the intervention by roughly 4%. Given the low cost of the intervention, our findings indicate that targeted information provision can be a highly effective policy tool in the labor market.

Suggested Citation

  • Altmann, Steffen & Falk, Armin & Jäger, Simon & Zimmermann, Florian, 2016. "Learning about Job Search: A Field Experiment with Job Seekers in Germany," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145877, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc16:145877
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    Cited by:

    1. Hall, Caroline & Kotakorpi, Kaisa & Liljeberg, Linus & Pirttilä, Jukka, 2016. "Screening through activation: differential effects of a youth activation programme," Working Paper Series 2016:15, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    2. Belot, Michele & Kircher, Philipp & Muller, Paul, 2015. "Providing Advice to Job Seekers at Low Cost: An Experimental Study on On-Line Advice," Working Papers in Economics 637, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    3. Martin Abel & Rulof Burger & Eliana Carranza & Patrizio Piraino, 2019. "Bridging the Intention-Behavior Gap? The Effect of Plan-Making Prompts on Job Search and Employment," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 284-301, April.
    4. repec:wfo:monber:y:2017:i:6 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:eee:labeco:v:45:y:2017:i:c:p:158-168 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Abebe, Girum & Caria, Stefano & Fafchamps, Marcel & Falco, Paolo & Franklin, Simon & Quinn, Simon & Shilpi, Forhad, 2017. "Matching firms and workers in a field experiment in Ethiopia," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 86572, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    7. Jingcheng Fu & Martin Sefton & Richard Upward, 2017. "Social comparisons in job search: experimental evidence," Discussion Papers 2017-10, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
    8. Beam, Emily A., 2016. "Do job fairs matter? Experimental evidence on the impact of job-fair attendance," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 32-40.
    9. Eva M. Berger & Günther König & Henning Mueller & Felix Schmidt & Daniel Schunk, 2016. "Self-Regulation Training, Labor Market Reintegration of Unemployed Individuals, and Locus of Control - Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment," CESifo Working Paper Series 6246, CESifo Group Munich.
    10. Caroline Hall & Kaisa Kotakorpi & Linus Liljeberg & Jukka Pirttilä, 2017. "Screening through Activation: Differential Effects of a Youth Activation Programme," CESifo Working Paper Series 6305, CESifo Group Munich.
    11. Roberto Galbiati & Aurélie Ouss & Arnaud Philippe, 2015. "Jobs, News and Re-offending after Incarceration," Sciences Po publications 41, Sciences Po.
    12. Sascha Drahs & Luke Haywood & Amelie Schiprowski, 2018. "Job Search with Subjective Wage Expectations," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1725, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    13. McGee, Andrew & McGee, Peter, 2016. "Search, effort, and locus of control," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 126(PA), pages 89-101.
    14. Abebe, Girum & Caria, Stefano & Fafchamps, Marcel & Falco, Paolo & Franklin, Simon & Quinn, Simon, 2017. "Anonymity of distance? Job search and labour market exclusion in a growing African city," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 86573, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    15. Schmidt, Felix & Berger, Eva & Schunk, Daniel & Müller, Henning & König, Günther, 2017. "Self-Regulation Training and Job Search Effort: A Natural Field Experiment within an Active Labor Market Program," Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168177, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    16. Abebe, Girum & Caria, Stefano & Fafchamps, Marcel & Falco, Paolo & Franklin, Simon & Quinn, Simon, 2017. "Anonymity of distance? Job search and labour market exclusion in a growing African city," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 86573, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    17. Elisa Guglielminetti & Rafael Lalive & Philippe Ruh & Etienne Wasmer, 2015. "Spatial search strategies of job seekers and the role of unemployment insurance," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/4n249fe9fu9, Sciences Po.
    18. Landeghem, Bert Van & Cörvers, Frank & Grip, Andries de, 2017. "Is there a rationale to contact the unemployed right from the start? Evidence from a natural field experiment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 158-168.
    19. Kassenboehmer, Sonja C. & Schatz, Sonja G., 2017. "Re-employment expectations and realisations: Prediction errors and behavioural responses," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 161-176.
    20. Johannes F. Schmieder & Till von Wachter, 2016. "The Effects of Unemployment Insurance Benefits: New Evidence and Interpretation," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 8(1), pages 547-581, October.
    21. repec:wfo:monber:y:2017:i:6:p:493-505 is not listed on IDEAS
    22. Stephan, Gesine & van den Berg, Gerard & Homrighausen, Pia, 2016. "Randomizing information on a targeted wage support program for older workers: A field experiment," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145487, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

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    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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