Benus, J., Poe-Yamagata, E., Wang, Y., & Blass, E. (2008). Reemployment and Eligibility Assessment (REA) Study: FY 2005 Initiative: final report. Columbia, MD: IMPAQ International. [North Dakota sample]
- This study’s objective was to assess the effectiveness of the Reemployment and Eligibility Assessment (REA) Initiative in North Dakota, a program that provided eligibility and reemployment case management services to Unemployment Insurance (UI) claimants, on UI benefits receipt, wages, and employment.
- The study randomly assigned nearly 2,000 eligible claimants to either the treatment group, which could receive REA services, or the control group, which could not access the same REA services. Those in the treatment group were required to participate in the services to retain their UI eligibility. The authors estimated the program’s effectiveness by analyzing state administrative records on UI payments and information from a follow-up survey of a subsample of study participants.
- The study found no statistically significant impacts of REA on UI benefits receipt, employment, or earnings.
- The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is high for the UI benefits receipt outcomes because it is based on a well-implemented randomized controlled trial. For the employment and wages outcomes, the quality of evidence presented in this report is moderate.
Features of the Intervention
Since its inception in 2005, 40 states have implemented the REA initiative to encourage rapid reemployment of UI claimants through a combination of in-person eligibility reviews and employment-focused case management. In North Dakota, UI claimants at the time of the REA initiative were required to participate in eligibility assessments and reemployment services. UI claimants were contacted by mail within two weeks of their claims informing them of the services and were expected to undergo reemployment reviews every four weeks as long as they remained unemployed. The REA initiative represented a change of timing, duration, and mode of contact from existing services. Those selected for REA were contacted by telephone within one day of filing for UI and underwent reemployment reviews every 10 days as long as they remained unemployed. To be eligible, claimants could not be attached to a job and could not be a union member, federal employee, or military employee. In addition, eligible claimants had to be North Dakota residents and have satisfied a work search requirement.
Features of the Study
From April 2005 through May 2006, North Dakota randomly assigned nearly 2,000 eligible UI claimants to either the treatment group, which was contacted for reemployment services through the REA initiative, or to a control group, which received services as usual. The authors subsequently limited their analysis of administrative data to those who had filed an initial claim from April 1 to December 31, 2005.
The study analyzed UI benefits receipt outcomes using administrative records and employment and earnings information from a follow-up survey. The authors presented results from multivariate regressions controlling for age, gender, race, ethnicity, education, and likelihood of exhausting benefits. The UI benefits outcome regressions also controlled for total 2005 wages; the employment and earnings regressions additionally controlled for the number of months between the follow-up interview and the participant’s first claim.
- The study found no statistically significant impacts of the REA initiative on UI benefits receipt, employment, or earnings.
Considerations for Interpreting the Findings
The existing services available to control group members were relatively similar to the REA services offered to the treatment group members. This could have made it difficult to detect statistically significant impacts.
The follow-up survey, from which employment and earnings outcomes were drawn, appeared to have a very low response rate, with only about one-third of the randomized sample represented. Therefore, the analyses of employment and earnings outcomes are not eligible for a high causal evidence rating. However, the authors included an extensive set of control variables in their regression models, making these analyses eligible for a moderate evidence rating.
Causal Evidence Rating
The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is high for the UI benefits receipt outcomes because it is based on a well-implemented randomized controlled trial. This means we would have confidence that the estimated effects on UI benefits receipt would be attributable to the REA, and not to other factors. However, the study found no statistically significant effects on UI benefits receipt. For the employment and earnings outcomes, the quality of evidence presented in this report is moderate. This means we would have some confidence that the estimated effects on employment and earnings were attributable to the REA initiative, but the study did not find statistically significant effects on those outcomes.