Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Discussion Paper Series in Economics,
Norwegian School of Economics, Department of Economics

No 13/2019: Self-regulation Training and Job Search Behavior: A Natural Field Experiment Within an Active Labor Market Program

Eva M. Berger, Henning Hermes (), Guenther Koenig, Felix Schmidt and Daniel Schunk
Additional contact information
Henning Hermes: Dept. of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration, Postal: NHH, Department of Economics, Helleveien 30, N-5045 Bergen, Norway

Abstract: Existing evidence suggests that self-regulation plays an important role in the job search process and labor market reintegration of unemployed persons. We conduct a randomized natural field experiment embedded in an established labor market reactivation program to examine the causal effect of conducting self-regulation training on the job search behavior of long-term unemployed participants. Our treatment involves teaching a self-regulation strategy based on mental contrasting with implementation intentions (MCII). We find that the treatment has a positive effect on the quality of application documents as well as on the probability of participants submitting their documents on time. However, we do not find a positive effect on labor market reintegration—possibly due to the short-term horizon of the data. Because the intervention is very low cost, a rollout to other programs might have high individual and social rates of return.

Keywords: active labor market policy; natural field experiment; job search behavior; unemployed; self-regulation; non-cognitive skills

JEL-codes: C93; J24; J64

44 pages, June 18, 2019

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