Natural and Classical Experiments in Swedish Labour Market Policy

University dissertation from Stockholm : Nationalekonomiska institutionen

Abstract: "Effects of Changes in the Unemployment Insurance Eligibility Requirements on Job Duration — Swedish Evidence"This paper investigates the impact of the unemployment insurance (UI) entrance requirement on employment duration among earlier unemployed in Sweden. I exploit changes in the rule taking place in 1994 and 1997 to study behavioural adjustments in the timing of job separation between 1992, 1996, and 1998. Performing across-year analyses, I find evidence of clustering of job exits at the time of UI qualification. By using predicted hazard rates for each week, I calculate an approximate 2.9-week extension in average employment duration between 1996 and 1998 due to the 5-week prolonging of the entrance requirement."Job-search Assistance Using the Internet – Experiences from a Swedish Randomised Experiment"This paper reports the experience from a randomised experiment offering voluntary job-search assistance on the Internet to job seekers at Swedish public employment offices. The purpose is to, i) investigate to what extent the evaluation design manages to avoid common difficulties in experimental evaluation, ii) assess the effect of the programme on the employment outcome, and iii) use the nonbiased experimental results as a benchmark evaluating the performance of frequent nonexperimental estimators. I find that the evaluation design successfully circumvents inherent difficulties in the experimental approach, such as ethical concerns, bureaucratic behaviour and randomisation bias. However, the voluntariness of the programme caused severe compliance problems in terms of both no-shows and dropouts. This is accounted for by analysing the effect of the “intent-to-treat” (the policy parameter of most interest), which is close to zero. Studying the effects of various doses of actual treatment, using an nonexperimental instrumental variable model, I fail to reject the hypothesis of a zero programme effect. Finally, a methodological comparison suggests that standard nonexperimental techniques succeed in reproducing the nonbiased experimental results."Are there Pre-programme Effects of Swedish Active Labour Market Policies – Evidence from Three Randomised Experiments"This paper takes advantage of unique experimental data from three demonstration programmes in 2004 to investigate pre-programme incentive effects of active placement efforts at the employment offices in Sweden. The exit rate from unemployment between referral to and start of the programme services is compared between UI eligible experiment and control group members. The results are mixed. In one of the experiments, targeted towards a broad group of UI receivers, arranged job-search activities in groups combined with increased monitoring of job-search efforts generated a 38 per cent increase in the escape rate from unemployment in the weeks leading up to programme start. This translates into an almost two-week reduction of the ongoing UI spell. Referrals to increased monitoring alone did not have the same effect on exit behaviour. In the other two experiments, targeted towards youth and highly educated respectively, referrals to active placement efforts had no effect on the pre-programme outflow.