Welfare programs often consist of mandated in-person assistance services. This feature can introduce an engagement barrier for some beneficiaries. Offering some of these services online can address this problem while also reducing administrative costs. In a field experiment with about 2,700 beneficiaries of unemployment benefits, we evaluate the effectiveness of a self-directed website that supplements assistance traditionally delivered by job center staff. Tracking employment outcomes for nearly two years, we find that the intervention significantly increased job-finding rates for some groups. Towards the end of the first year, the effect is still 7 percentage points (25 percent higher than in the control group) for prime-age job seekers (35-50 years old) and 9 percentage points (35 percent higher than the control group) for women, reversing the job-finding gender gap. We discuss opportunities for governments to scale up similar low-cost interventions to assist social insurance and welfare beneficiaries online.

Providing government assistance online: A field experiment on employment assistance

Giulio Zanella
Secondo
;
2022

Abstract

Welfare programs often consist of mandated in-person assistance services. This feature can introduce an engagement barrier for some beneficiaries. Offering some of these services online can address this problem while also reducing administrative costs. In a field experiment with about 2,700 beneficiaries of unemployment benefits, we evaluate the effectiveness of a self-directed website that supplements assistance traditionally delivered by job center staff. Tracking employment outcomes for nearly two years, we find that the intervention significantly increased job-finding rates for some groups. Towards the end of the first year, the effect is still 7 percentage points (25 percent higher than in the control group) for prime-age job seekers (35-50 years old) and 9 percentage points (35 percent higher than the control group) for women, reversing the job-finding gender gap. We discuss opportunities for governments to scale up similar low-cost interventions to assist social insurance and welfare beneficiaries online.
Giulio Zanella; Guglielmo Briscese
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/835380
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