The Economic and Social Integration of Refugees in Germany: Evidence from a Field Experiment
Last registered on November 20, 2016

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
The Economic and Social Integration of Refugees in Germany: Evidence from a Field Experiment
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0001799
Initial registration date
November 20, 2016
Last updated
November 20, 2016 7:14 AM EST
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
University of Munich
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
University of Munich, CEPS
PI Affiliation
Ifo Institute
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2016-05-11
End date
2017-11-11
Secondary IDs
Abstract
We design a field experiment to evaluate the role of matching frictions in the labour market integration of refugees. During CV writing sessions with refugees in Munich, we collect information from around 500 refugees that recently arrived in Munich and have a work permit. All of our participants receive a complete CV in German. We then randomly allocate half of the refugees to the treatment group, which is added to the database of an NGO that matches job candidates to suitable employers. This treatment can isolate the effect of matching and information frictions, while it has no effect on the underlying skill set of refugees. The experimental setting allows to track both control and treatment groups over time. Our survey data includes new information on the background characteristics of refugees, their existing job-search strategies, and perceptions of integration.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Battisti, Michele, Yvonne Giesing and Nadzeya Laurentsyeva. 2016. "The Economic and Social Integration of Refugees in Germany: Evidence from a Field Experiment." AEA RCT Registry. November 20. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/1799/history/11904
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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
We design a field experiment to evaluate the role of matching frictions on the employment prospects of refugees, and to shed light on the effects of employment on economic and social integration of refugees. During job-search training sessions taking place at refugee accommodation and other locations in and around Munich, we collect information from several hundred refugees that recently arrived in Munich and have (or are about to obtain) a work permit. All of our participants receive a complete CV in German. We then randomly allocate fifty percent of the refugees to our treatment group and fifty percent to our control group. The treatment group is then forwarded to an NGO that matches job candidates to suitable employers and supports the former through the placement process. We believe that this treatment can isolate the effect of matching and information frictions, while has not effect on the underlying skill set of refugees. The experimental setting allows to track both control and treatment groups over time.
As a first stage, we analyse how successful the supported refugees are in obtaining interviews and job offers. If we were to find any treatment, we would also be able to discuss the possible mechanisms at work and attempt an evaluation of the treatment in a cost-benefit setting. We then use the treatment as an instrument for employment and focus on the integration outcomes of migrants, which we are able to measure through a panel survey. Our survey data include information on the background characteristics of refugees, their existing job-search strategies, and perceptions of integration.
Intervention Start Date
2016-05-11
Intervention End Date
2017-11-11
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Employed (at the point of the follow-up survey)
Duration of employment (in months from the randomization day to the day of the follow-up survey)
Wage (monthly (gross and net) wage at the point of the follow-up survey or in the last employment)

Time until the first interview/trial/employment offer
Number of job interviews for the first job (invited, happened)
Number of job trials for the first job (invited, happened)
Number of applications for the first job
Where searched for vacancies (indicator variable as in the baseline survey)
Job/skill match (an indicator variable: overqualified/ok/underqualified, based on observables, can measure for jobs they apply to and for the job they actually get)
Self reported job satisfaction, self reported match quality
Reservation wage (at the point of the follow-up)
Difficulty in the job search (indicator variable as in the baseline survey)
(Ask employers to see if they consider our treatment as a referral, if refugees contacted them directly)

Intention to stay (dummy variable)
Knowledge of German language (indicator variable)
Local acquaintances (dummy)
Activities: study, sport, shopping, meeting with friends (total number)
Feel at home (indicator on Likert scale)
Integration index: A2German + German\ friends + Invited + Activities + Feel\ home$Any other investment in human capital (as driving license)?
Housing conditions
Stress, happiness and optimism levels
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design

Our experimental set-up can be divided into three stages: the CV preparation stage, the treatment stage and the follow-up stage. The difference between the treatment and the control group is made during the second stage; through randomisation 50 percent of participants receive the additional job-matching treatment. The first and second stage have started in May 2016 in Munich and are ongoing until May 2017. The follow-up stage begins six months after the CV preparation stage and is conducted from November 2016 to November 2017.\footnote{The experimental design was approved by the Ethics commission of the Economics faculty of the University of Munich.}
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
To determine which candidates are allocated to the treatment and the control group, we randomise for each session separately, thereby insuring that for each session we have the same number of participants in the treatment and in the control group. For every session, participants are ranked by a random number generator and the upper 50 percent of participants are allocated to the treatment.\footnote{If the number of candidates is odd, the additional person is randomly allocated to the control or the treatment group.} As the sessions take place at different locations and time and individuals in the same session are more likely to be similar, we believe that this procedure helps us in having people with similar characteristics in the treatment and in the control group. Therefore this provides a useful (albeit weak) stratification. People who attend the regular CV sessions are likely to differ from those who get interviewed directly in their camp, participants from different camps might have access to varying degrees of support services through local social workers, etc. Moreover, it is logistically impossible to reach and to interview all potential participants within a short time span. This means that a single randomisation of all candidates would not be feasible. We conduct this session-based individual randomization every two weeks, so that the NGO receives new CVs twice a month. We thereby guarantee a stable flow for the NGO and ensure that the treatment starts at about the same time after the first meeting with the participants.\footnote{On average, every week we meet with 15 new job-seekers during the CV preparation sessions.}.
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
Approx. 70 sessions (times and location)
Sample size: planned number of observations
500 participants
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
500 participants, 250 in treatment, 250 in control
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Approx. 10 percent, depending on different standard errors
Supporting Documents and Materials

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IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Ethics commission, University of Munich
IRB Approval Date
2016-05-11
IRB Approval Number
1
Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
No
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers