Is there a rationale to contact the unemployed right from the start? Evidence from a natural field experiment

Bert van Landeghem*, Frank Cörvers, Andries de Grip

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Active Labour Market Policies (ALMPs) often exclusively target towards the long-term unemployed. Although it might be more efficient to intervene earlier in order to prevent long-term unemployment rather than to cure it, the climate of austerity in Eurozone countries is spreading a tendency to further reduce the basic counselling for those who become unemployed. This study investigates the impact on employment chances of a relatively light and inexpensive intervention. In a field experiment in a public employment office in Flanders, a random selection of clients were invited for a mandatory information session in the first month of the unemployment spell, while the control group were invited after four months of unemployment. Although the average intention to-treat effect we find is not significant, the early intervention appears to be very beneficial for those with low education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-168
Number of pages11
JournalLabour Economics
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017

JEL classifications

  • d04 - "Microeconomic Policy: Formulation; Implementation; Evaluation"
  • d61 - "Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis"
  • j64 - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
  • j68 - Mobility, Unemployment, and Vacancies: Public Policy


  • active labour market policies
  • unemployment
  • natural field experiment
  • Active Labour Market Policies
  • Natural field experiment
  • Unemployment

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