We selected a sample of 13 upper-secondary schools within 80km of the industrial zone of San Luis Potosi, Mexico. In the last months of the school year, students enrolled in 12th grade are asked for consent and surveyed one-to-one to learn about their baseline sociodemographic characteristics, employment trajectory, career expectations, socioemotional skills, among others.
This information is used to create the experimental groups, stratifying by gender and school type. The proposed randomized control trial is composed of 2076 young adults, who are randomly assigned either the treatment (T_WS) or control group (C_WS) for the wage subsidy to formal employment, as well as to self-affirmation activities (T_SA) or control activities (C_SA). This results in a 2x2 cross-randomization. The study will estimate each treatment effect separately, as well as the interaction between the two treatments.
Some weeks later after the survey, all 12th-grade students are invited to a “Labor Market Information Workshop” during regular school hours within the school premises. The workshop is led by the staff of the National Employment Service, previously trained by the research team. At the end of the workshop, based on the random assignment, students in the T_SA complete the first of a series of self-affirmation exercises, while those in the C_SA complete a placebo exercise. They also receive an envelope with a personalized letter informing them whether they are eligible (T_WS) or not (C_WS) for a monthly wage subsidy for up to 6 months conditional on employment in the formal labor market, along with instructions to register for this benefit.
Following the workshop, students in the self-affirmation treatment complete follow-up self-affirmation activities via SMS. To receive the wage subsidy, students offered the wage subsidy (T_WS) must complete an online registration process and provide monthly proof of employment once they obtain formal employment.
We undertake two main rounds of data collection: a baseline survey (i.e. SES characteristics, professional trajectory, career expectations, socioemotional skills, etc.) prior to the workshop and a final follow-up survey to estimate mid-term effects of the program on various outcomes. Periodic two-way SMS messages are used to monitor participants' status and collect high-frequency information about employment trajectories of target youth. There will also be a phone midline survey administer to about half of the sample.