Itay Saporta-Eksten, University of Tel Aviv, IZA and CEPR

Job search assistance for older unemployed in the digital era: evidence from a large scale RCT


We evaluate the impact of a job-search assistance program targeting older skilled unemployed in Israel using a large randomized controlled trial. A key objective of the program is to train job seekers for the efficient use of online job search tools and social networks. We find that the program increases earnings and job stability for men, and show that the employment increase induced by the program can account for only a small part of the effect on earnings. These findings point to a positive effect of the program on job matching quality. Furthermore, the earnings increase for men is driven by jobs where matching and hiring is a more complex process. We find that the program had no effect on women's earnings, with a somewhat negative effect on employment, and a positive effect on observed wages. We show that the gender differences in treatment effect cannot be accounted for by differences in observable characteristics or by differences in utilization of program tools across gender. Finally, we study the differential treatment effect on reservation wages by gender. To do that we estimate a Roy model using observed wages and reservation wages, finding no change in the potential market wage distribution for women, but an increase in their reservation wages at the bottom of the distribution. We conclude that gender differences are explained by a combination of differential returns to program tools, and reservation wage dynamics.

Itay Saporta-Esksten is a Senior Lecturer in Economics at Tel Aviv University, a Research Affiliate at IZA and CEPR, and an associate editor at the Journal of Labor Economics. He received his Ph.D. from Stanford University in 2014. His main fields are Labor and Macro economics.

You can read more about Itay Saporta-Eksten here

CEBI contact: Thomas H. Jørgensen