Are Active Labor Market Policies Directed at Firms Effective? Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation with Local Employment Agencies

Last registered on December 02, 2019


Trial Information

General Information

Are Active Labor Market Policies Directed at Firms Effective? Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation with Local Employment Agencies
Initial registration date
November 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
December 02, 2019, 3:42 PM EST

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



Primary Investigator


Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Sciences Po
PI Affiliation

Additional Trial Information

Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Active labor market policies (ALMPs) have primarily focused on jobseekers through job-search assistance or training programs and numerous studies have shown that these programs can be effective at improving labor market outcomes for participants. Yet their employment effects may be limited in equilibrium because they can induce substantial displacement effects between jobseekers. In this study, we explore the effectiveness and potential limitations of a symmetric intervention that assists firms in their recruitment operations. The motivation for this study comes from the fact that, in the standard equilibrium job search and matching theory that labor economists use, the recruitment, or "vacancy", cost is a key parameter that helps determine both labor demand and the unemployment rate. These models tell us that if these costs fall it will stimulate firm labor demand as the threshold for job creation is lowered. Yet we lack, perhaps surprisingly, direct evidence on the impact of a change in these costs. Hence we evaluate the effect of an innovative active labor market policy (ALMP) implemented by the French Public Employment Service (PES) that targeted the vacancy costs of thousands of small and medium sized firms. Using administrative data, we focus on vacancy creation and hiring in sample firms to measure whether the treatment did or did not stimulate labor demand. We also use this data to explore mechanisms through the types of services implemented to vacancies. Finally we use theory and simulations to discuss the validity of the empirical results in equilibrium and address the question of potential scale-up of this type of firm-based intervention.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

algan, yann, bruno crepon and dylan glover. 2019. "Are Active Labor Market Policies Directed at Firms Effective? Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation with Local Employment Agencies." AEA RCT Registry. December 02.
Experimental Details


Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
The vacancy creation and hires of sample firms.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Vacancy characteristics, the recruitment services applied to them and the potential matches made to the vacancies by jobseekers, counselors and firms themselves.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
8,232 establishments (7,438 unique firms) were randomized with probability 0.5 into either treatment or control groups. Treated firms were then prospected by Public Employment Service (PES) counselors and offered a battery of free recruitment services for their current or future recruitment needs. The intensive prospection campaign was carried out from mid-September to end of December 2014. Counselors were then instructed to take no proactive action towards control firms until April 2015 (sanctuary period), after which they were free to contact both control and treatment firms. Using the PES' rich administrative data, we compare vacancy creation with the PES and exhaustive hiring outcomes of sample firms for the 6.5 month sanctuary period and also measure longer-term outcomes using this data up to 31 January 2016. To understand mechanisms, we measure the amount and types of services that were applied to vacancies and the potential matches made to them by jobseekers, counselors and the firms themselves.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Stratified randomization based on local employment agency, whether the firm recruited in the previous year and its size (in 5 categories). Randomization was done on a computer in the offices of the French Public Employment Service.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
7,438 firms
Sample size: planned number of observations
7,438 firms
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
3,736 control firms, 3,702 treated firms
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials