What prevents job-seekers from training? Reframing training access to reduce non-take up

Last registered on August 23, 2022

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
What prevents job-seekers from training? Reframing training access to reduce non-take up
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0009776
Initial registration date
July 19, 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
July 21, 2022, 12:14 PM EDT

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

Last updated
August 23, 2022, 10:21 AM EDT

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

Locations

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Primary Investigator

Affiliation
University of Oxford

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Vienna University of Economics and Business

Additional Trial Information

Status
In development
Start date
2022-07-20
End date
2026-07-31
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
This document describes the research design and analysis strategy of our field experiment, designed to boost training and employment of job-seekers. We start with a detailed outline of the intervention, which takes place in 2022 and 2023 in the state of Lower Austria (Niederösterreich) in Austria. Job-seekers receive an email newsletter with information on training programs offered by the public employment service and open vacancies within two treatment arms. The newsletter includes a voucher framing that informs about the range of available training programs and signals their monetary value to job-seekers. The intervention builds on a precursor study that took place in 2021 (https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/7141) and expands the most effective treatments to a wider population over an entire year. The major refinement consists in targeting the information on training and job vacancies to the educational attainment of job-seekers. We provide a detailed discussion of our sample selection, variables used and the handling of the data to make the analysis as transparent and replicable as possible. We report the outcomes of our stratified randomization. Further, we state our hypotheses and outcomes of interest motivated by our precursor study and the active labor market policy evaluation literature. Finally, we conclude by specifying our statistical approach to inference.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Lehner, Lukas and Anna Schwarz. 2022. "What prevents job-seekers from training? Reframing training access to reduce non-take up." AEA RCT Registry. August 23. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.9776
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Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
From July 2022 to July 2023, we launch a field experiment designed in cooperation and implemented by the Public Employment Service (PES) of Lower Austria (Arbeitsmarktservice Niederösterreich, AMS NÖ). The aim is to increase training and employment among the unemployed by increasing completion of training programs. The treatment consists of an email newsletter sent to job-seekers with information on training programs offered by the public employment service. The newsletter includes a voucher framing that informs about the range of available training programs and signals their monetary value to job-seekers. In a second treatment arm, job-seekers receive on top additional information on the type of jobs with the highest number of open vacancies.

Two different treatment arms and one control arm vary the type of information that the job-seekers receive on training programs. The job-seekers in the sample will be randomly allocated to each of the three groups on an individual level. This randomization is conducted separately for each sending date. The different treatment and control arms are as follows:

1. Group: control
2. Group: treatment with a newsletter that includes a voucher and information on training provided by the PES targeted to the educational attainment of job-seekers.
3. Group: identical newsletter as the 2nd group complemented with job information also targeted to the educational attainment of job-seekers.

The treatment for group 2 is intended to spur self-driven initiative by raising perceived autonomy over training choices, and increasing reciprocity and reducing social stigma by signalling the monetary value of training programs. On top of it, the treatment for group 3 should also reduce asymmetric information on the demand for labor. Except for receiving the email newsletter, participants in the treatment groups continue to be subject to the same rules and obligations, including regular appointments with their job counselors, as participants in the control group.
Intervention Start Date
2022-07-20
Intervention End Date
2023-07-31

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Our two primary outcomes are training completion and days in employment.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Training completion refers to whether or not a training program was completed after two years
since the intervention.

Employment measures days in employment after two years since the
intervention.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Training take-up, Type of training,
Activation measures, Counseling, Subsidized employment
Unemployment duration, Earnings
Social and health outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
The secondary outcomes are not per se targeted outcomes, but can be
seen as mechanisms leading to the primary outcomes described above or providing additional
information on economic and social consequences. To get a better understanding of the immediate
effects of our intervention, we differentiate by the type of training that was completed. This
can be shorter training programs focused on employment orientation or longer training programs
focused on enhancing qualifications, which aim at increasing human capital. Further, we look at
potential spill-over effects to other active labor market programs, such as activation measures, such
as application courses, job search assistance and counselling as well as employment promotion such
as subsidized employment and direct job creation. To get a better understanding of employment
effects, we also look at effects on unemployment duration as well as earnings and employment
stability in post-intervention employment. Unemployment duration allows us to quantify lock-in
effects. Earnings and employment stability provide us with measures for the quality of employment.
Finally, using the additional post-intervention survey, we will collect outcome data on job search
intensity, and social outcomes including well-being, social inclusion and health. Other studies have
found positive effects of active labor market policies on mental health and social inclusion (Wang
et al., 2021).

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The randomization is conducted for each sending date separately. In addition, we use the other
stratification variables as specified in table 1 to construct strata, i.e. blocks. The treatment assignment
is in the next step conducted randomly within these strata. Ideally, we would like to stratify
by more variables than just the three used, but the sample size does not allow more stratification
variables, because then the strata would become too small. In the first wave, we additionally
stratify on unemployment duration, as this population also includes unemployed with varying unemployment
durations, as already explained above.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Stratified randomization
Randomization Unit
Individual level
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
-
Sample size: planned number of observations
-
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Our sample comprises of all eligible unemployed with an unemployment duration of at least six
months to maximum 2 years in June 2022. In the subsequent bi-monthly treatments, new unemployed
who exceed a duration of over 6 months will be treated. Every individual will only be
treated once. This means that job-seekers who were part of the pre-cursor study are excluded to
allow for clean inference of treatment effects. The sample size is thus unclear and will depend on
the labor market situation. It will, however, most likely be larger than the sample we had in the
precursor intervention of 2021.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Departmental Research Ethics Committee, Department of Social Policiy and Intervention, University of Oxford
IRB Approval Date
2022-07-21
IRB Approval Number
C1A_20_005
Analysis Plan

Analysis Plan Documents