Pilot: The Effect of Tailored Information on Low-Income Workers’ Transitions, Employment, and Earnings

Why don’t low-income workers move to higher-paying jobs? One explanation is that they have inaccurate or uncertain perceptions about job opportunities. This project investigates whether tailored information can increase workers’ transitions, employment, and earnings. Our intervention provides workers information on occupations offering relatively high wages and rapid employment conditional on their past labor market experience, education, and demographic characteristics. Workers access this information through a user-friendly website and smartphone app. Our implementing partner administers employment services to mostly low-income workers in southwest Michigan. Alongside this partner, we evaluate this intervention using a twelve-week randomized controlled trial that links 1,754 individuals to administrative unemployment insurance records. The pilot will help us refine the website/app, recommendation model, and research design for a larger evaluation that will test specific mechanisms. This project sheds light on whether innovative low-cost tools can improve employment prospects and matches. We also learn about whether barriers to information acquisition meaningfully hinder worker search. This project is receiving Short-Term Research Management (STReaM) support from J-PAL North America staff.

RFP Cycle:
WotF RFP I [Oct 2018]
United States of America
  • Alex Bartik
  • Bryan Stuart
  • Pilot project