Working papers

Using detailed, high frequency data on potential job matches made through the French Public Employment Service (PES), I present evidence showing that search intensity both by and for minority jobseekers is highly sensitive to a shock that increases bias against their type. In the 10 weeks following the January 2015 "Charlie Hebdo" attacks, employers significantly reduce their search for minorities -- jobseekers defined as having a first name of Arabic origin -- to fill their vacancies as compared to majority jobseekers -- those with classically French sounding first names. Minorities also drastically reduce their job search intensity after the shock. These drops are offset by a substantial increase in matching effort made by job counselors for their minority jobseekers after the shock. This counselor "compensatory effect" is driven by counselors who are themselves minorities and for majority counselors who specialize in getting the most marginalized jobseekers back to work. In addition, these effects are strongest in areas of low latent discrimination, proxied for by the local extreme-right vote share. Overall, I find no significant employment effects, but this belies strong heterogeneity: Significant negative employment effects on minorities are observed in micromarkets outside of the job counselors' purview. This suggests that labor market intermediaries can play an important role in mitigating adverse shocks that reduce the efficiency of the labor market matching technology.

We evaluate the effect of an innovative active labor market policy (ALMP) implemented by the French Public Employment Service (PES) that targeted the vacancy costs of thousands of small and medium sized firms. We find that this policy increased labor demand among treatment firms on average: a 24% increase in vacancy postings with the PES and a 10% increase in permanent contract hires of registered jobseekers, a large proportion of which were still in employment after 12 months. The increase in firm labor demand is consistent with a drop in vacancy costs due to a shift in the prescreening and filtering burden of the recruitment process away from the firm to the PES counselor. These results suggest that ALMPs directed at firm recruiting costs may be a valuable addition to the labor policy toolkit, yet theory and simulations illustrate that care must be taken when targeting future interventions of this type due to equilibrium effects.

Press: Les Cahiers Louis Bachelier

Older version: The Value of a Vacancy: Evidence from a Randomized Evaluation with Local Employment Agencies in France.

Peer-reviewed publications

Press: London School of Economics Business Review, Le Monde, Chaire de Sécurisation de Parcours Professionnel

Work in progress

  • Increasing the Geographic Mobility of Job Seekers: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment in France. Joint with Alexandra Roulet

We explore the barriers to geographic mobility faced by job seekers and on ways to lift them. We provide evidence that female job seekers are much less geographically mobile (16% less), even when controlling for a rich set of demographic and job search characteristics. Through a randomized experiment on 100,000 French job seekers, we show that an information treatment about existing financial incentives offered by the French Public Employment Service for geographic mobility significantly increases both the take-up of these incentives and actual mobility, as measured by the distance between the job found and the initial residence. These effects are driven by people who already knew about these incentives prior to our intervention, suggesting that the treatment acted as a reminder. Additionally, the treatment effect on actual mobility is centered on women who are predicted to have less family constraints and who put more importance on their profession. These results suggest that women may face different job opportunity sets due to their search behavior and that simple information treatments may improve female mobility and potentially lead them to achieve better labor market outcomes.

Through two online survey experiments we measure preferences for inequality and redistribution among the rich and among a demographically representative sample of US residents. We compare and contrast the effect of reference group saliency among the two groups using experimental evidence.