This project experimentally evaluates two interventions that are designed to help young urban dwellers search for employment by easing spatial (access to places to search for jobs) and informational (knowledge on how to apply for jobs effectively) constraints to job searching.
- First intervention – Transport study
In the area of this study, people are required to take regular trips to the centre of town in order to search for jobs. In this intervention, participants are given a subsidy to cover the cost of this journey into town to ensure they are all able to access the spaces required to search for jobs. Participants can collect the subsidy from an office located in the centre of the city, up to three times a week, for an average period of 16 weeks.
- Second intervention – Job application workshop
The second intervention is a job application workshop. Participants are offered orientation on how to make effective job applications using CVs and cover letters, and on how to approach job interviews. Further, the research team certify their general skills using a mix of standardised personnel selection tests. The project team worked with a trusted education institute to implement this intervention.
The team also examined a control group that received neither intervention.
Both interventions are specifically geared to help job seekers to find formal and stable work. The researchers use the existing job search system without trying to match firms and workers together directly. The interventions are cheap: the marginal cost of offering the treatment to one individual is about US$19.80 for the transport intervention and US$18.20 for the workshop. The team evaluate these programmes using a large sample of over 3,000 young people (ages 18 to 30) who were without permanent work at the beginning of the study.
The research team randomly assigned some respondents to receive either of the interventions. To understand the mechanisms that drive the effects, the team conducted fortnightly phone interviews with all sampled jobseekers throughout the course of the study. This provides a rich, high-frequency dataset that allows researchers to observe how search behaviour evolves in response to these interventions. The project team then studied the participants labour market outcomes about six months after the intervention finished.