Self-regulation Training and Job Search Behavior: A Natural Field Experiment Within an Active Labor Market Program
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- Discussion papers (SAM) 
Existing evidence suggests that self-regulation plays an important role in the job search process and labor market reintegration of unemployed persons. We conduct a randomized natural field experiment embedded in an established labor market reactivation program to examine the causal effect of conducting self-regulation training on the job search behavior of long-term unemployed participants. Our treatment involves teaching a self-regulation strategy based on mental contrasting with implementation intentions (MCII). We find that the treatment has a positive effect on the quality of application documents as well as on the probability of participants submitting their documents on time. However, we do not find a positive effect on labor market reintegration—possibly due to the short-term horizon of the data. Because the intervention is very low cost, a rollout to other programs might have high individual and social rates of return.