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Employment Verification and History: Misreported Job Applicant Qualifications and Implications for Job Search
Initial registration date
July 28, 2020
July 29, 2020 10:11 AM EDT
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Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
Workers typically report employment histories when applying to jobs. Existing research shows that information about employment histories influences firms' hiring decisions. However, if verifying employment histories is costly to firms, then firms may not verify all job applicants' employment histories, giving applicants an incentive to misreport. This can reduce the expected value of hires for firms, leading to fewer job postings and lower wage offers. This information problem may be alleviated by a centralized employment verification service that lowers the total cost of verification by avoiding effort duplication by firms. We explore these ideas by creating a centralized employment verification service in Lahore, Pakistan. In this trial, we focus on jobseekers. We randomize the probability that their self-reported employment history will be audited. We measure the extent of misreporting and the effect of audit threats on reporting behavior. A second trial, to be registered separately on this site, will study how firms respond to access to verified information.
We are registering this trial during the COVID-19 epidemic. Our intervention end date, trial end date, and final sample size will depend on the progress of the epidemic.
Field, Erica et al. 2020. "Employment Verification and History: Misreported Job Applicant Qualifications and Implications for Job Search." AEA RCT Registry. July 29.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Retrospective reported jobseeker qualifications; Post-treatment labor market activity including job search, employment, employment characteristics
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
We conduct an experiment on Job Talash, a job search facilitation service. We experimentally vary the probability that jobseekers’ self-reported qualifications will be audited. Jobseekers are divided into a pre-announced audit group and a control group.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization is conducted using Stata.
Treatment is assigned at the participant level. Analysis using panel data on participants will account for within-participant clustering.
Was the treatment clustered?
Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
728 individuals in treatment; 720 in control.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
C0441 / 2019-0067