Location, Search Costs and Youth Unemployment: Experimental Evidence from Transport Subsidies

September 1 2018

Do high search costs affect the labour market outcomes of job seekers living far away from jobs? I randomly assign transport subsidies to unemployed youth in urban Ethiopia. Treated respondents increase job search intensity, and are more likely to find good, permanent, jobs. Subsidies also induce a short-term reduction in temporary work. I use a high-frequency phone call survey to track the trajectory of search behaviour over time to show that the subsidies significantly increased job search intensity, and the use of formal search methods. The evidence suggests that cash constraints cause young people to give up looking for good jobs too early.

Economic Journal, 2018. 

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Simon Franklin is a Postdoctoral Research Economist at LSE. His research focuses on Development, Labour, and Urban Economics.