The report takes advantage of an experiment, called the Washington Alternative Work Search (WAWS) experiment, to analyze the long-term effect of the elimination of the work search requirement for unemployment insurance (UI) recipients. Usually, those receiving UI are required to conduct a work search and to provide proof of this endeavor. In the experiment, however, a random group of UI recipients in Tacoma, Washington from July 1986 to August 1987 did not have to report on work search activity. The rest of the UI recipients in the area continued to have a normal work search requirement. While the short term outcomes of these two groups were previously analyzed, this report uses “data from the 1986–87 Washington Alternative Work Search experiment (merged with nine years of follow-up administrative wage records) to estimate the causal effects of eliminating the [UI] work search requirement (WSR) duration of nonemployment, tenure with first post-claim employer, number of post-claim employers, long-term earnings, employment, and hours worked” (p.1). The report also breaks down experiment participants into subgroups, including permanent job losers, those who had been temporarily laid off, seasonal and migrant workers, and those who had quit their jobs, to see if the effect of the elimination of the WSR differed by these groups. Ultimately, the report hopes to answer longstanding questions about the overall effect of the WSR, such as whether it reduces moral hazard, “that is, to counter the incentive to reduce job search effort and take longer to become reemployed” (p.3.), or if it alternatively “also pressure workers into accepting a relatively poor job match, leading to an unstable pattern of employment and lower long-term earnings” (p.3).
(Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)