Crépon, Bruno, Esther Duflo, Marc Gurgand, Roland Rathelot and Philippe Zamora. Do Labor Market Policies have Displacement Effects? Evidence from a Clustered Randomized Experiment. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 128(2), pp. 531-580, May 2013
This article reports the results from a randomized experiment designed to evaluate the direct and indirect (displacement) impacts of job placement assistance on the labor market outcomes of young, educated job seekers in France. We use a two-step design. In the first step, the proportions of job seekers to be assigned to treatment (0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, or 100%) were randomly drawn for each of the 235 labor markets (e.g., cities) participating in the experiment. Then, in each labor market, eligible job seekers were randomly assigned to the treatment, following this proportion. After eight months, eligible, unemployed youths who were assigned to the program were significantly more likely to have found a stable job than those who were not. But these gains are transitory, and they appear to have come partly at the expense of eligible workers who did not benefit from the program, particularly in labor markets where they compete mainly with other educated workers, and in weak labor markets. Overall, the program seems to have had very little net benefits.