Absence of conflict of interest.
Noel, B. J. (1998). Two essays on unemployment insurance: Claimant responses to policy changes (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from UMI (UMI No. 9922624). [Comparison between claimants who applied for UI benefits after WPRS only]
- The study’s objective was to examine the impact of reemployment services through the Worker Profiling and Reemployment System (WPRS) on unemployment insurance (UI) benefit receipt and earnings for individuals who applied for UI in Kentucky. The authors investigated a similar research questions in another contrast, the profiles of which can be found here.
- The author compared outcomes for treatment group members, who were eligible to receive reemployment services, and comparison group members, who were not eligible to receive the reemployment services but could access other services in the community, using data from the Kentucky Department of Employment Services Unemployment Insurance administrative records.
- The study found statistically significant relationships between reemployment services and UI benefit receipt, where those who were offered the reemployment services received less UI benefits in 26 weeks, compared to those who did not receive reemployment services. There were no statistically significant relationships between reemployment services and earnings.
- The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is low because the author did not ensure that the groups compared were similar before the intervention. This means we are not confident that the estimated relationships are attributable to the WPRS reemployment services; other factors are likely to have contributed.
Features of the Intervention
The reemployment services were offered as part of the WPRS, which was established in October 1994. Individuals were eligible for WPRS reemployment services if they were determined to be likely to exhaust UI benefits. To make this determination, the program assigned each person a profiling score based on his or her characteristics, such as educational background, occupation, industry, and work history.
Individuals with eligible profiling scores were assigned an orientation session, during which they would complete a questionnaire to determine which type of services best suited the needs of the individual. Individuals were deemed “job ready” because they had job skills, were willing to obtain a job with wages lower than their previous position, and had employable skills. Individuals without these characteristics were classified as “not job ready.”
Job-ready individuals received less intensive services, provided by staff at the local employment services office, including an in-depth interview, development of a service plan, and provision of labor market information like job listings, employer recruiting efforts, and information on new businesses. Some job-ready individuals also received referrals to job openings and completed self-directed job searches. Individuals who were not job ready received more intensive services, provided by staff at the local employment services office. These services included an initial assessment and additional testing for vocational aptitudes and interest; employment counseling, including developing a plan for reaching their employment goals; five-hour job search workshops on topics like skills inventory, resume writing, labor market information, and managing stress and family budgets; referrals to training and education; job referrals; self-directed job searches; and allowances to fund job searches outside of their area.
Features of the Study
This study was a nonexperimental analysis that included 36,977 individuals who applied for UI benefits in Kentucky from October 1994 to June 1996. The sample included 27,475 treatment group members who were eligible to receive reemployment services and the 9,502 comparison group members who did not receive these services but could access other services in the community. The sample was constructed by matching all individuals who were eligible to receive reemployment services to ineligible individuals who had the same profiling scores and were served by the same local areas, but could have applied for benefits at different times. The author used data from the Kentucky Department of Employment Services UI Administrative records to compare benefit receipt for 26 weeks and earnings for one year after the UI claim was placed. In the statistical models, the author controlled for sample members’ profiling scores and the location in which they applied for benefits, but did not account for differences between the groups in terms of demographic characteristics or pre-intervention earnings or employment.
- The study found that individuals in the treatment group received $88 less in UI benefits than the comparison group over the 26-week follow-up period. The treatment group also received 2.2 fewer weeks of UI benefits than the comparison group during the 26-week period. These were statistically significant differences.
- There were no statistically significant findings on the relationship between reemployment services and earnings.
Considerations for Interpreting the Findings
The author did not account for existing differences between the groups before the offer of reemployment services. These existing differences between the groups—and not the reemployment services—could explain the observed differences in outcomes.
Causal Evidence Rating
The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is low because the author did not ensure that the groups compared were similar before the intervention. This means we are not confident that the estimated relationships are attributable to the WPRS reemployment services; other factors are likely to have contributed.
Black, D., Smith, J., Berger, M., & Noel, B. (2003). Is the threat of reemployment services more effective than the services themselves? Evidence from random assignments in the UI system. American Economic Review, 93(4), 1313-1327.