Do Unemployment Insurance Recipients Actively Seek Work? Randomized Trials in Four U.S. States

28 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 1999 Last revised: 12 Oct 2010

See all articles by Orley Ashenfelter

Orley Ashenfelter

Princeton University - Industrial Relations Section; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

David Ashmore

Princeton University

Olivier Deschenes

Princeton University - Department of Economics

Date Written: February 1999

Abstract

In the last two decades, U.S. policies have moved from the use of incentives to the use of sanctions to promote work effort in social programs. Surprisingly, except for anecdotes, there is very little systematic evidence of the extent to which sanctions applied to the abusive use of social entitlements result in greater work effort. In this paper we report the results of randomized trials designed to measure whether stricter enforcement and verification of work search behavior alone decreases unemployment (UI) claims and benefits. These experiments were designed to explicitly test claims based on non-experimental data failure of claimants to actively seek work. Our results provide no support for the view that the failure to actively seek work has been a cause of overpayment in the UI system.

Suggested Citation

Ashenfelter, Orley C. and Ashmore, David and Deschenes, Olivier, Do Unemployment Insurance Recipients Actively Seek Work? Randomized Trials in Four U.S. States (February 1999). NBER Working Paper No. w6982. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=151910

Orley C. Ashenfelter (Contact Author)

Princeton University - Industrial Relations Section ( email )

Princeton, NJ 08544-2098
United States
609-258-4040 (Phone)
609-258-2907 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

David Ashmore

Princeton University ( email )

Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States
609-683-4222 (Phone)
609-683-4239 (Fax)

Olivier Deschenes

Princeton University - Department of Economics ( email )

Princeton, NJ 08544-1021
United States

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