Reducing filing costs of social benefits: Experimental evidence on employment responses

Last registered on July 10, 2019

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Reducing filing costs of social benefits: Experimental evidence on employment responses
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0004380
Initial registration date
June 28, 2019

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
July 10, 2019, 2:17 PM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Locations

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
VATT Institute for Economic Research

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
VATT Institute for Economic Research
PI Affiliation
VATT Institute for Economic Research

Additional Trial Information

Status
On going
Start date
2018-12-13
End date
2020-12-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
This experiment studies the effects of bureaucracy costs of social benefits on employment and part-time work. Together with the Social Insurance Institution (SII) of Finland, we set up a field experiment to analyze these effects. The introduction of the Income Register simplified the benefit application process when working part-time and claiming the adjusted unemployment benefits. Part-time workers no longer need to document their current earnings in the benefit application. We randomize unemployed individuals to use the new simplified benefit application before its nationwide implementation. The target group of the experiment is approximately 50,000 individuals of which 50% is randomized to the treatment and control groups. We will estimate the employment effects of this experiment using register data.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Harju, Jarkko, Tuomas Matikka and Jouko Verho. 2019. "Reducing filing costs of social benefits: Experimental evidence on employment responses." AEA RCT Registry. July 10. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.4380
Former Citation
Harju, Jarkko, Tuomas Matikka and Jouko Verho. 2019. "Reducing filing costs of social benefits: Experimental evidence on employment responses." AEA RCT Registry. July 10. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/4380/history/49740
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
Individuals in the treatment group first received an email on January 9, 2019 and later also a letter, advising that they no longer need to report their earnings from part-time employment to the SII when applying for adjusted unemployment benefits, as the SII would receive this information directly from the new Incomes Register from the beginning of 2019 onward. The randomly selected control group did not receive any such additional information. The Income Register was implemented nationwide for all social security benefits from March 2019 onward.
Intervention Start Date
2019-01-01
Intervention End Date
2019-03-31

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Earnings from 1st January 2019 to 31th March 2019
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
1. Taxable income during the experiment
2. The use of unemployment benefits during the experiment
3. The use of other social benefits during the experiment
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The target group includes around 50 000 individuals who had received unemployment benefits in November 2018.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
The SII used simple random sampling to select 50% of the target population into the treatment group and 50% into the control group.
Randomization Unit
Individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
No clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
Size of the analysis population is approximately 50,000 individuals.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
The treatment and control groups are around 25,000 individuals.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
The required sample size to detect 1 percentage point increase in the use of adjusted unemployment benefits was estimated to be 19,447 per treatment and control group with the significance level of 5%, power of rejecting null hypothesis of 80%. The calculation is based on the November 2017 benefit data as the monthly earnings data are available only after the introduction of the Income Register.
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

Analysis Plan Documents

Pre-analysis plan – Reducing filing costs of social benefits

MD5: 3c30cdbb7e9906e05b812d62c373f27d

SHA1: 6da30e9d4eed65a89c79a79319d46fb848cb71dc

Uploaded At: June 28, 2019

Post-Trial

Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Intervention

Is the intervention completed?
No
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?
No

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials