Can a Website Bring Unemployment Down? Experimental Evidence from France
74 Pages Posted: 11 Apr 2022 Last revised: 26 Sep 2022
Date Written: April 2022
We evaluate the impact of an online platform giving job seekers tips to improve their search and recommendations of new occupations and locations to target, based on their personal data and labor market data. Our experiment used an encouragement design and was conducted in collaboration with the French public employment agency. It includes 212,277 individuals. We find modest effects on search methods: the users of the platform adopt some of its tips and they are more likely to use resources provided by public employment services. However, following individual trajectories for 18 months after the intervention, we do not observe any impact on time spent looking for a job, search scope (occupational or geographical), or self-reported well-being. Most importantly, we do not find any effect on any employment outcome, whether in the short or medium run. We conclude that the enthusiasm around the potential for job-search assistance platforms to help reduce unemployment should be toned down.
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