Hybrid seminar: Nudging Job Seekers to Search Online: (Quasi-)Experimental Evidence from Belgium
On Tuesday June 13th 2023, Emilie Rademakers (Utrecht University) will give a presentation titled: "Nudging Job Seekers to Search Online: (Quasi-)Experimental Evidence from Belgium." To attend this seminar, please send an e-mail to Simone Pailer (S.Pailer@cpb.nl). You will be registered at the reception or will receive a Webex invitation via Outlook.
Job search effort plays a key role for job finding and is increasingly occurring in an online setting. However, the complex and information intense process of job search can lead to inattention on the side of job seekers. In addition, the distress of job loss has been shown to reduce the mental bandwidth of those experiencing it. Under these circumstances, nudging could help job seekers to attain a more optimal level of effort by simplifying the process and temporarily increasing mental bandwidth. In this paper we evaluate two nudges towards more online job search measured by logins and saved vacancies. Firstly, we exploit the staggered timing of a 15-minute telephone meeting with a counselor that promotes online job search using a stacked Difference-in-Difference design. Second, we evaluate experimental variation that simplifies the content of the first welcome email. Our sample is the universal inflow of unemployed job seekers in Flanders, Belgium, between March 1 and September 9, 2021. Our observed daily search behavior stems from the online job platform maintained by the Public Employment Services. We find that nudging job seekers by simplifying their access to the online platform has significant but short-lived responses in terms of logins and vacancies saved. Telephone contact with a counselor results in an average 7 fold increase of logins and a doubling of saved vacancies compared to the reference point. These effects are strongest for job seeker cohorts that actively called to meet with the counselor as opposed to passively waited to be called. We find an 18% increase in logins for a simplified email that removes text paragraphs in favor of putting a click-through login button at the top. Taken together, our results using granular data highlight the power as well as drawback of overcoming the complexity of job search using simplifying nudges. While our effects our sizeable, they fade out within days.