Wisconsin Department of Industry, Labor, and Human Relations (1984). Wisconsin Job Service: ERP Pilot Project final report. Madison, WI: DILHR.
- The study estimated the effect of mandatory participation in a job search workshop for Unemployment Insurance (UI) recipients separated indefinitely from their previous employers.
- The study was a randomized controlled trial (RCT) conducted in six sites in Wisconsin. Eligible UI recipients were randomly assigned to either the treatment group, which was required to attend a six-hour workshop, or a control group, which was not required to attend the workshop.
- In general, there were no statistically significant differences in duration of UI benefit receipt between treatment and control group members across all six sites or for individual sites.
- The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is high because it was based on a well-implemented RCT. This means we are confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the job search workshop and not to other factors.
Features of the Intervention
The Eligibility Review Process (ERP) Pilot Project was conducted in six sites in Wisconsin in 1983 to determine whether enhancing UI claimants’ job search skills through a mandatory job search workshop would reduce their UI claim duration. The researchers randomly assigned 1,999 eligible UI claimants to the treatment group and 2,277 eligible claimants to the control group. Both groups were required to register with Job Service and could receive employment services, including referrals and use of the UI office’s job search resources. In addition, treatment group members were required to attend a one-day, six-hour workshop focused on improving job applications and job search strategies. Failure to attend the workshop could result in losing one week of UI benefit payments.
The authors estimated program impacts as the difference in raw means between the treatment and control groups.
Public benefits receipt
- In general, there were no statistically significant differences in duration of UI benefit receipt across all six sites or for each site individually. The exception is Oshkosh, where treatment group members received 2.42 fewer weeks of UI benefits than did control group members.
Considerations for Interpreting the Findings
The authors reported that 31 percent of the treatment group did not attend the mandatory workshop; this might explain the general lack of statistically significant findings.
Causal Evidence Rating
The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is high because it was based on a well-implemented RCT. This means we are confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the job search workshop and not to other factors.