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Does housing tenure affect the response of claimants to stricter job search requirements? Evidence from the UK Jobseeker's Allowance


 This paper investigates the relation between job search behaviour and housing tenure, exploiting exogenous variation in job search requirements for benefit eligibility introduced by the UK Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA). Labour Force Survey data are used to estimate JSA’s impact on the combination of claimant status and search intensity. Many claimants leaving the register without entering employment are found to keep searching with higher intensity, revealing preference for independent search. Decomposing the treatment effect by housing tenure, it is found that the JSA increased the probability to find a job among mortgagers; it also induced a significant claimant outflow for renters, but not for outright owners, and significantly less for mortgagers. This can be due to a different search behaviour of homeowners, either because of higher initial levels of search (mortgagers) or because of higher propensity to adjust search to new requirements (outright owners). Among unemployed stopping claiming benefits, many renters decreased their search effort, but many others increased it, similarly to mortgagers. These findings suggest that tighter enforcement of search requirements led many unemployed to abandon the system despite commitment to look for work, contrary to the stated rationale for the policy design.

Paolo Paruolo
Short bio: 

Paolo Paruolo è responsabile scientifico presso il Joint Research Centre (JRC) della Commissione Europea in Ispra, Varese. In particolare, lavora per il Centre for Research on Impact Evaluation (CRIE). Paolo Paruolo è un econometrico i cui interessi di ricerca riguardano sia l’econometria teorica che applicata, oltre che i metodi di valutazione controfattuali. Ha conseguito un master in Economia e Statistica presso l’Università di Bologna (1987) e un Ph.D in Econometria Teorica – Statistica matematica presso l’Università di Copenhagen (1995). È stato ricercatore e professore associato di Econometria (Università di Bologna 1989-1999) ed in seguito professore ordinario di Econometria presso l’Università dell’Insubria (1999-2013). È entrato a far parte del JRC nel 2013.

12 Febbraio 2015 - 17:00

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