Can a Website Bring Unemployment Down? Experimental Evidence from France

74 Pages Posted: 11 Apr 2022 Last revised: 26 Sep 2022

See all articles by Aïcha Ben Dhia

Aïcha Ben Dhia

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Bruno Crepon

Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) - CREST

Esther Mbih

CREST - ENSAE

Louise Paul-Delvaux

Harvard University

Bertille Picard

Aix Marseille University

Vincent Pons

Harvard University - Business School (HBS)

Date Written: April 2022

Abstract

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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Suggested Citation

Ben Dhia, Aïcha and Crepon, Bruno and Mbih, Esther and Paul-Delvaux, Louise and Picard, Bertille and Pons, Vincent, Can a Website Bring Unemployment Down? Experimental Evidence from France (April 2022). NBER Working Paper No. w29914, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4080654

Aïcha Ben Dhia (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
50 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

Bruno Crepon

Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) - CREST

Esther Mbih

CREST - ENSAE ( email )

France

Louise Paul-Delvaux

Harvard University ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Bertille Picard

Aix Marseille University ( email )

Vincent Pons

Harvard University - Business School (HBS) ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States

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