This project examines the impact of three interventions designed to improve employment outcomes of Syrian refugees and local jobseekers in Jordan. This is the first field experiment that studies the employment of refugees in a developing country context.


This project includes a field experiment that examines the impact of three interventions designed (working closely with local experts at the International Rescue Committee in Amman) to improve formal employment outcomes of Syrian refugees and local jobseekers in Jordan.  The interventions involved 663 Syrians and 2,107 Jordanians.

Treatment groups

  • Treatment group 1: A labelled cash transfer. 
    The cash support is a labelled cash transfer (LCT) of a value of 65 JOD (about US$92 at the time of the intervention). This transfer was intended to support the recipient to pay for the cost of job search – including transport, grooming, time costs and, for at least some study participants, childcare.
  • Treatment group 2: Information. 
    The second intervention provided informational support. Respondents in this treatment received in-depth information on (i) how to prepare for and interview for a formal job in Jordan, and (ii) the legal rights of employees in formal jobs. Information was delivered through face-to-face interaction with a trained Project Match employment service officer, two videos describing the formal jobs and associated labour laws from the eyes of a job-seeker, and two take-home paper tools.
  • Treatment group 3: Nudge
    The third intervention is psychological support; we refer to this as the ‘nudge’ intervention. We provide a packaged intervention composed of (i) a four-week job-search planning calendar,(ii) an instructional video on how to use the calendar to plan for job search, (iii) a face-to-face demonstration delivered by the ESOs, and finally (iv) reminder SMSs.
  • Control group
    The control group received the 4 JOD and the basic informational flyer that were offered to everyone upon registration with Project Match. 

Follow ups

Researchers measure the impacts of these interventions through follow-up surveys, all administered by phone. 

  • First, a very short follow-up survey six weeks after baseline. This survey is focused exclusively on measuring whether the respondent is currently in wage employment.
  • Second, in-depth phone surveys two and four months after the baseline interview.

Researchers were unable to complete a six month follow-up interview due to the national lockdown in Jordan during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Researchers find that the cash intervention has large and significant impacts on refugee employment and earnings, two and four months after treatment. While employment rates remain stubbornly low in the control group, the cash grant raises job search rates and enables refugees to place more job applications. As a result, four months after treatment, the grant boosts employment by 3.8 percentage points (70 percent) and earnings by 65 percent. We also document substantial increases in hourly wages and in the probability of retaining a job between the two and four month interviews, indicating that match quality has also increased.

The information and behavioural nudge interventions also boost job search among refugees and have significant impacts on employment and earnings after two months. However, these impacts are smaller than those of the cash grant and are ultimately short lived. Four months after treatment, researchers find weaker and insignificant impacts of these interventions.

These results shed light on the barriers to employment opportunities faced by refugees in a developing-country context. This evidence is particularly relevant for policy, as governments around the world consider expanding legal access to labour markets for refugees.


February 2019 - June 2020


World map with red dot on Jordan

Firms, Farms and Labour
Welfare and Behaviour