Impaq just posted long-term RCT results for Nevada's RESEA program, aimed at reemploying Unemployment Insurance (UI) claimants. Quick take: High-quality RCT finds that this low-cost program ($290/person) yields earnings gains of $13,000/person over 5 years & net savings to gov't.

Program:

  • Nevada's Reemployment Services & Eligibility Assessment (RESEA) program is a mandatory program for UI claimants that provides an in-person review of their UI eligibility & personalized reemployment services (e.g., job search assistance) in a single interview. Cost=$290/person.

Study Design:

  • The study randomized 91,151 new UI claimants in 2014-2015, with prior average earnings of $30K/yr, to treatment (RESEA) vs control (usual UI process). Based on careful review, this was a high-quality RCT (e.g., baseline balance, negligible attrition, prespecified analyses).

Findings:

  • The study found a statistically significant 13% earnings gain ($13,234/person) over the five years after study entry. The gain was sizable in each of the five years: ~$2,800 in years 1-4, and $2,000 in year 5. It also found net savings to gov't (~$170/person) from reduced UI payments.

  • This RCT - conducted in a reasonably healthy labor market (2014-2020) - replicates the positive findings of an earlier Nevada RCT during high unemployment (2009-2011), providing confidence in the results & establishing their robustness over differing economic conditions.

Comment:

  • Importantly, RCTs of other states' RESEA programs - whose features are substantively different than the Nevada model - have shown mostly disappointing results, suggesting that specific program elements may really matter in determining impact.

  • A new RCT in Colorado, which adopted the NV model, is testing whether the NV results generalize to other states. Overall, I think the NV findings are highly encouraging. Disclosure: My former employer Arnold Ventures funded the NV RCT.

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