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.