Economic incentives for private providers of job-search assistance

Last registered on November 09, 2023


Trial Information

General Information

Economic incentives for private providers of job-search assistance
Initial registration date
February 08, 2022

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
February 08, 2022, 9:37 AM EST

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

Last updated
November 09, 2023, 3:33 AM EST

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.



Primary Investigator


Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
PI Affiliation
PI Affiliation
Swedish Public Employment Service
PI Affiliation
Swedish Public Employment Service

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Active labour market policies (ALMP) to combat unemployment are used in most countries. Traditionally, public authorities have conducted these policies, but recently, some countries have contracted out ALMPs to private providers. The intention is to increase cost-efficiency by creating a market, where there are financial incentives for the private providers to perform. This randomized trial examines private provision of job-search assistance in Sweden. We will focus a program named Krom, which is governed by the Swedish Public Employment Services (SPES), but privat companies provide all job-search assistance services to the job seekers who participate in the program. The trial focuses on overall effects of the private provider program and the impact of the compensation scheme, aiming to answer how compensation scheme for the private providers could be designed. Relevant outcomes include e.g. the support given to the job seekers, employment outcomes and job quality.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Egebark, Johan et al. 2023. "Economic incentives for private providers of job-search assistance." AEA RCT Registry. November 09.
Experimental Details


In March 2020, the Swedish Public Employment Service (Swedish PES) launched a new active labor market program for unemployed workers, KROM. KROM is a program where job-search assistance is given by private providers. The program consists of three different tracks and job seekers are assigned to one of the tracks, based on how closely they are attached to the labor market, as measured by a statistical profiling tool. Unemployed workers not assigned to KROM obtain the standard in-house public job-search assistance. The goal of KROM is to get the participants back to work or education as soon as possible.

The private providers are given different compensation for each jobseeker based on the given track. The compensations are split into a basic compensation, given regardless of the outcome, and a performance-based compensation, given if the jobseeker gains employment or starts education. This trial will evaluate both the overall effect of participating in KROM and the impact of the compensation given to the private provider. This is done comparing the public in-house provision of job-search assistance and private provision within the tree KROM-tracks. The trial will also explore the mechanisms behind any observed effects using various administrative data.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
We will use administrative data from the Swedish PES and Statistics Sweden. The administrative records from the PES include detailed information on job seeker characteristics along with detailed daily information on unemployment status, participation in active labor market programs and exits from unemployment. The PES data also includes detailed information on service content for the public provider. The PES also collects information from the private providers on the support provided by the private providers. The administrative data from Statistics Sweden includes the LISA database, containing annual information on key labor market outcomes such as labor earnings and income from various insurance schemes. Monthly tax records from the Register-Based Labor Market Statistics (RAMS) contain monthly earnings and employer information.
Primary outcomes of job search: job finding as measured by administrative data from the Swedish PES (such as unemployment duration and employment status) and likelihood of initiating different types of education.
Support given to the job seekers: type and amount of job-search assistance, and support given via labor market programs, including both in-house public support and private support. The outcomes will depend on the exact information collected by the Swedish PES.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary outcomes of job search: labor earnings and job quality as measured by administrative data from Statistics Sweden (such as monthly labor, wage rate and hours worked).
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The randomized trial uses a series of sub-trials to evaluate the overall impact of private provision of job-search assistance, the impact of the size of the total compensation to the private providers and the design of the basic compensation and the performance-based compensation.

Experimental Design Details
The randomized trial uses a series of sub-trials to evaluate the impact of the design of the basic compensation and the performance-based compensation. Randomization of participants occur at several important margins, that all allow for analyses of different types of questions. The starting point is a statistical profiling tool used to assign job seekers to KROM. It estimates a profiling score for the job seeker’s proximity to the labor market. According to pre-specified thresholds of the profiling score, job seekers are distributed to different tracks of the KROM program. The different tracks offer different levels of compensation. More specifically, participants who are estimated to be further from the labor market, according to the statistical profiling tool, generate a larger compensation to the private provider than participants closer to the labor market. Participants who are too close to or too far from the labor market are not part of the target population for KROM and are supposed to receive the normal services by the public provider, the PES.

This trial involves randomization of job seekers close to the thresholds, who are randomized between the KROM-tracks. These randomization zones are defined in terms of score thresholds and they also vary along the unemployment duration dimension. Hence, individuals with the same score from the statistical profiling model and the same unemployment duration will randomly receive different services or generate different compensations for the private providers. The KROM design includes several different randomization zones, that all can be used to answer important questions.

Figure 1 illustrates the research design (see supporting material). Each coloured dot is an estimated profiling score (y-axis) for a job seeker profiled at a given duration of unemployment (x-axis, days in unemployment, dagar). The solid lines correspond to the thresholds. The different colours show the five outcomes: green (Not KROM, too close to the labor market), yellow (KROM, track A), orange (KROM, track B), red (KROM, track C), and blue (Not KROM, too far away from the labor market). Around each threshold in Figure 1 there are grey dotted lines, showing the randomization zones. If the job seeker´s score is within a randomization zone, participation in the tracks surrounding the threshold is randomly drawn. This design makes sure that on each side of each threshold there are similar job seekers (in terms of job finding probabilities) who get different treatment in terms of private or public provision or in terms of compensation to private providers.

The difference between the tracks is the compensation they generate to the private providers. The contracted service content is the same between tracks, and providers are in general free to implement the services they find appropriate. In all tracks, compensation consists of (1) a basic compensation at assignment, (2) a performance-based compensation when the participant gains employment or starts education, and (3) a quickness bonus granted if the participant acquires employment or education within 6 months. The maximum compensation per participant varies from SEK 34,820 in track A to 61,760 in track C. In addition, the middle track B consists of two different compensation schemes, where each is implemented in about half of the local labor markets.

The setup of KROM has been similar over time but the thresholds have changed on a few occasions. These changes allow us to identify the effects of private provision and different compensation schemes for a larger range of job seeker characteristics than if the thresholds had remained fixed. Another feature of the program that can be exploited for identification is the gradual roll-out across municipalities. Among other things, this allows for explicit evaluations of displacement effects of job search assistance, which has been an important topic in the recent job search assistance literature.
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer
Randomization Unit
Individual level randomization.
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Clustering is not relevant.
Sample size: planned number of observations
The sample size is determined by the Swedish Public Employment Service and not controlled by the evaluation team. The KROM-program and the randomized trial in this project is a part of an ongoing larger active labor market policy in Sweden. We pre-specified the experimental protocol before the trial, but the exact funds available to the program and the trial were not clear when the experiment was launched. We therefore decided that the evaluation sample will consists of everyone that the Swedish Public Employment Service assigns to the trial, without any specific target for the final sample size.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Unavailable (see above).
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Unavailable (see above).
Supporting Documents and Materials

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Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Dnr 2020-03140
Analysis Plan

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Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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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