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Leaving welfare for work : evaluation of a French training program for social welfare recipients
Last registered on October 21, 2020

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Leaving welfare for work : evaluation of a French training program for social welfare recipients
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0006386
Initial registration date
Not yet registered
Last updated
October 21, 2020 11:18 AM EDT
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Institut des Politiques Publiques
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Institut des Politiques Publiques
PI Affiliation
CREST
PI Affiliation
CREST
PI Affiliation
Institut des Politiques Publiques
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2020-06-15
End date
2023-12-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
There exist numerous studies on the evaluation of active labor market policies (ALMP) for unemployed job seekers. Recent experimental evidence suggests positive effects of job search assistance and counseling programs on treated individuals, while the evidence for the participation in training programs is rather mixed. For Europe, the evidence on training programs is mostly based on non-experimental studies and does not focus on long-term unemployed workers.

In this project, we evaluate a program for unemployed social welfare recipients which (i) supports them in defining their professional project and (ii) offers a training which corresponds to this professional project and which helps them learn or update the skills needed in the occupation and sector they want to work in.
The program “Parcours d'Entrée dans l'Emploi” (PEE) has been introduced for social welfare recipients (“Revenu de Solidarité Active”, RSA) in September 2019. The participants are usually long-term unemployed individuals who are detached from the labor market and struggle to enter stable employment paths. Moreover, being away from the labor market might lead to a breakdown of those individuals’ social bonds.
In this project, we evaluate the impact of participation in the program PEE on the probability of having a clearly defined professional project, entering (stable) employment, and the level of social inclusion. We will use rich administrative data to observe employment outcomes, transfer receipt and participation in ALMP, and combine this with survey data which allows us to – among other things - observe the professional project of the unemployed and their level of social inclusion.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Rain, Audrey et al. 2020. "Leaving welfare for work : evaluation of a French training program for social welfare recipients." AEA RCT Registry. October 21. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.6386-1.2000000000000002.
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
We implement our experiment in the region Île-de-France. Participants in our study are unemployed welfare recipients (RSA recipients) who are interested in participating in the training program “Parcours d’Entrée en Emploi” (PEE). Among those interested in the program, we randomly pick participants for the program. The treatment corresponds to being offered to participate in the PEE. Those who are randomly chosen to be not treated are part of the control group and get informed that they cannot be offered participation in PEE.
Intervention Start Date
2020-09-01
Intervention End Date
2023-07-01
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
1. Entering (stable) employment

2. Having a professional project

3. Social Inclusion
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
1. Entering (stable) employment: based on administrative data, we will be able to observe the labor market outcomes for all participants in our experiment (periods of employment, earnings, duration of the employment, type of contract, etc.).

2. Having a professional project: based on a survey which we will conduct around 2 months after randomization, we will observe whether the individuals have an idea about the type of occupation they want to enter. Moreover, we plan to ask them about the importance of different skills for this type of occupation. Based on these questions, we aim to evaluate their knowledge about the occupation they aim to enter.

3. Social Inclusion: in the endline survey (around 10 months after randomization), we will ask the participants in the experiment about their social activities (like meeting friends, watching TV, going out) and their level of mastering the French language. We will also measure to what extent they have access to additional rights (health, housing, etc.). These questions will be used to evaluate the impact of program participation on social inclusion.

In the baseline survey, we try to measure the locus of control and the self-control of individuals using standard items employed in other surveys. We plan to investigate effect heterogeneity along these dimensions and to analyze whether the effectiveness of the program differs depending on the locus of control and the self-control of the participants. The feasibility of this analysis will depend on answers’ reliability (those questions rely on items which might not be understood by by everyone in the whole sample because the share of non-native speakers might be high). We plan to investigate effect heterogeneity along the language dimension if some outcomes are not meaningfully measured for non-native speakers.

We also measure in the baseline survey whether individuals face situations that could potentially deter them from entering a training program (e.g. having no access to childcare and living far away from the closest training center). We aim at analyzing whether the program impacts individuals differently according to these potential barriers. We also measure the maturity of the professional plan and aim at comparing the program effectiveness according to this characteristic.
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
1. Completing a training program

2. Expectations about their labor market status in one year.

3. Interpersonal trust

4. Self-esteem

5. Ability to deal with everyday life problems.

6. Life Satisfaction
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
1. Completing a training program: based on administrative and survey data, we will collect information about whether or not individuals completed a training program. We will distinguish between short (up to 4 weeks) and long (more than 4 weeks) training programs.

2. Expectations about their employment in one year : in the midline survey, we will ask the individuals what they think they will do in one year. They have to choose one of the following categories: being employed, being unemployed and being in a training program, being unemployed without being in a training program, being self-employed.

3. Interpersonal trust: in the midline and endline survey, we will observe the level of interpersonal trust. This will be based on a declarative measure (using a Lickert scale) proposed by Falk et al (2016). This measure correlates better with experimental measure of trust comparing to standard survey items.

4. Self-esteem: in the endline survey, we will observe the level of self-esteem based on the Rosenberg scale. The feasibility of this analysis will depend on answers’ reliability (for measuring self-esteem we rely on items which might not be understood by everyone in the whole sample because the share of non-native speakers might be high).

5. Ability to deal with everyday life problems: in the midline and endline surveys we will ask questions about everyday life such as ability to write a letter for administrative purposes or to use a map to go to an appointment.. This will be based on standard survey items used in other surveys.

6. Life Satisfaction : based on a Likert Scale ranging from 0 to 10, we will ask individuals how happy they are in their life. This question will be asked in the endline survey.

In the baseline survey, we try to measure the locus of control and the self-control of individuals using standard items employed in other surveys. We plan to investigate effect heterogeneity along these dimensions and to analyze whether the effectiveness of the program differs depending on the locus of control and the self-control of the participants. The feasibility of this analysis will depend on answers’ reliability (those questions rely on items which might not be understood by everyone in the whole sample because the share of non-native speakers might be high). We plan to investigate effect heterogeneity along the language dimension if some outcomes are not meaningfully measured for non-native speakers.

We also measure in the baseline survey whether individuals face situations that could potentially deter them from entering a training program (e.g. having no access to childcare and living far away from the closest training center). We aim at analyzing whether the program impacts individuals differently according to these potential barriers. We also measure the maturity of the professional plan and aim at comparing the program effectiveness according to this characteristic.
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Among the RSA recipients that are interested in the program, we realize a random draw. As soon as two individuals have filled the required surveys to confirm their registration in the same training center, we randomly draw their status: within such a pair, each individual has a 0.5 probability to be assigned to the treatment and comparison group. If during the 5 days period there is not any additional application such that one cannot form a pair, we draw the individual with a probability of 0.5. As soon as another individual applies in the overall Region during the next 5 days, she is assigned the opposite status. Those who are assigned to the treatment group can participate to PEE.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer.
Randomization Unit
The randomization unit is the individual.
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
4000 individuals.
Sample size: planned number of observations
2000 (recipients) * 2 (years) = 4000 (recipients)
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
2000 recipients control and 2000 recipients treated. The treatment group size is fixed but the sample size can increase if there are more individuals in the control group.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
We are able to define a minimum detectable effect (MDE) for the probability of welfare recipients to find a job. The MDE that we can measure depends on the number of prescriptions which are made by social workers and on the compliance rate of individuals once assigned to their treatment status. Relying on a 100% compliance hypothesis, the minimum detectable effect that we can measure on the probability of welfare recipients to find a job is 4 percentage points, with a power of 80% and significance level of 0.05. It can be compared to the average exit rate of RSA of 27% (the most recent French data allow us to compute the exit rate of RSA between the 2016 and 2017 years, see Minima sociaux et prestations sociales – Ménages aux revenus modestes et redistribution, Edition 2019, DREES). It corresponds to 4000 prescriptions, such that 2000 individuals enter the training program (it is the maximum amount of individuals who can enter the program during the experiment) and that 2000 individuals are included in the control group. If the compliance rate decreases to 80%, keeping the power and significance level constant, 5000 prescriptions will be required to ensure that 2000 individuals enter the training program: in this case the MDE that we can measure is 0.046 points of percentage on the probability to find a job. By way of comparison, Blundell et al. (2004) measure the effect of the New Deal for Young People (targeting young unemployed individuals only) and show that the probability of beneficiaries to find a job increases by 5 percentage points, though this effect seems to decrease with time.
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Paris School of Economics
IRB Approval Date
2020-05-19
IRB Approval Number
2020-006