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

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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.

    Research areas

  • active labour market policies, unemployment, natural field experiment, Active Labour Market Policies, IMPACT, Natural field experiment, Unemployment
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-168
Number of pages11
JournalLabour Economics
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017