Fostering Non-Cognitive Skills in Active Labor Market Programs

Last registered on April 20, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
Fostering Non-Cognitive Skills in Active Labor Market Programs
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0007548
Initial registration date
April 18, 2021

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
April 20, 2021, 6:33 AM EDT

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

Locations

Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
Tel Aviv University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Bar Ilan University

Additional Trial Information

Status
Completed
Start date
2014-02-01
End date
2016-12-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
The long-term unemployed sometimes lack basic non-cognitive skills needed to enter and succeed in the labor market. We examine whether it is possible to develop or enhance these skills among adults by using a large-scale randomized control trial (RCT) to evaluate the effectiveness of an Active Labor Market Program (ALMP) that targets income-support claimants in Israel. In this program, participants receive personalized treatment composed of weekly sessions with occupational trainers and motivational group workshops. We find that the program increased the participants’ employment rate by 7.9 percentage points and decreased income support recipiency by 10.5 percentage points relative to the control group. The effects are larger among high-school dropouts and those with a longer history of welfare dependence. The program also boosted the employment of participants’ non-treated husbands but had no effect on participants’ non-treated wives. There is no evidence of displacement effects on the control group. Analysis of the mechanisms at work shows that the program has positive and significant effects on its participants’ work self-efficacy and job-search self-efficacy. We conclude that unemployed income-support claimants with lower labor-force attachment can benefit considerably from interventions that aim to improve their non-cognitive work-related skills.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Schlosser, Analia and Yannay Shanan. 2021. "Fostering Non-Cognitive Skills in Active Labor Market Programs." AEA RCT Registry. April 20. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.7548
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
This is an Active Labor Market Program (ALMP) called “Employment Circles” implemented in fourteen employment offices in Israel with the purpose of integrating unemployed income-support claimants into the labor force and preventing welfare dependency and long-term chronic unemployment. The target population were income-support claimants aged 20–50 who report to the employment office and are unemployed. The program focuses on enhancing participants’ non-cognitive skills by providing personalized treatment composed of weekly sessions with occupational trainers, therapeutic group meetings with coaches, and job-search-assistance workshops. The program begins with two one-on-one meetings with an occupational trainer who diagnoses the participant in accordance with employability, motivational level, and barriers to employment, and recommends a specific track of group workshops and personal meetings on this basis. Together with the occupational trainer, participants define their career goals and build a program to attain them. A key component of the program is the group workshops, in which coaches focus on identifying participants’ strengths; enhancing their motivation, job-search efficacy, work self-efficacy, and self-image; and developing a proactive work attitude.
Intervention Start Date
2014-02-01
Intervention End Date
2016-12-31

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
outcomes based on admin data: Indicators for employment, reporting to the employment office, welfare recipiency, and received other welfare payments. Earnings, income support payments, total income from work and welfare transfers for treated and control groups and their spouses. Survey outcomes available for treated and control groups who responded the survey: employment, working hours, LFP, earnings, and 5 modules that measure of job-search ability and non-cognitive skills: Job search self efficacy, Work self efficacy, Self efficacy, Grit, and self-esteem.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Individuals who submitted new income-support claims and a fraction of existing claimants in the welfare system were randomized into control and treatment groups. Randomization took place on a weekly basis separately for the incoming flow of jobseekers (i.e., new and returning claimants) and the stock of current jobseekers (the existing pool of claimants) at each employment office. The number of individuals assigned to treatment and control groups varied over time due to changes in the incoming flow of claimants and the capacity of the program at the office level. Treatment status was assigned at the household level. Namely, in cases where both partners attend the employment office, both were assigned to one group: treatment or control.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization was achieved by a software protocol that was implemented on the premises of the Israeli Employment Service (IES) research office to avoid manipulations. Treatment status was updated in the central IES operational database and the local employment offices received the list of individuals allocated to the treatment group.
Randomization Unit
employment office-randomization week-claimant type (flow or stock)
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
2822 units of employment office-randomization week-claimant type for the full sample
Sample size: planned number of observations
33,234
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
10,525 control
22,709 treated
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Supporting Documents and Materials

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IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Tel Aviv University
IRB Approval Date
2020-08-16
IRB Approval Number
N/A

Post-Trial

Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Intervention

Is the intervention completed?
Yes
Intervention Completion Date
December 31, 2016, 12:00 +00:00
Data Collection Complete
No
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?
No

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Program Files

Program Files
No
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials