Randomised controlled trials
The agency applies randomised controlled trials (RCTs) to evaluate labour market initiatives. In an RCT, unemployed persons are randomly allocated to either an intervention or a control group. The effects of an intervention are evaluated qualitatively and quantitatively.
The Danish Agency for Labour Market and Recruitment (STAR) applies randomised controlled trials (RCTs) to examine the effects of activation measures and other labour market interventions. In an RCT, unemployed persons are randomly allocated to either an intervention or a control group.
Those who are randomly allocated to an intervention group receive the new intervention, while those allocated to a control group receive the normal treatment.
Allocation to the two groups is carried out by a computer so as to guarantee random allocation.
Why use RCTs?
RCTs are often considered the gold standard of evaluation. Since test subjects are randomly selected the two groups are considered comparable. They have the same observable characteristics (gender, age, educational background, employment history, etc.) and the same unobservable characteristics (skills, motivations, health, etc.). This makes it possible to measure counterfactuals. This means that it is possible to measure the vocational effect of the intervention by comparing the outcome of the two groups.
Fidelity is important
In order to measure the effects of the trial correctly, it is important that the people in the intervention group receive the new intervention and the people in the control group receive the normal intervention (fidelity). STAR employs fidelity consultants to ensure high fidelity in the trials by measuring fidelity and providing this information to job centres while the RCT is underway. Where it becomes apparent that a given job centre is falling behind in this regard, assistance is given to help it get back on track.
STAR uses external evaluators (qualitative and quantitative) to measure the effects of the intervention. Quantitative evaluators measure whether there is an effect, while qualitative evaluators collect data (by interviewing caseworkers, managers, the unemployed, etc.) while the trial is underway in order to explain why there is an effect.
Quantitative evaluators also carry out power calculation in order to estimate the number of participants in the RCT prior to running the trial.
List of RCTs
STAR has conducted a number of RCTs:
- Hurtigt i gang 1, 2005-2006 (Focus on early and intensive intervention, caseworker interviews and early activation, new UIB)
- Hurtigt i gang 2, 2008-2009 (Focus on early and intensive intervention, caseworker interviews and early activation. Different design from Hurtigt i gang 1)
- Alle i gang, 2008 (Focus on caseworker interviews, long-term recipients of social benefits)
- Aktive Hurtigere tilbage, 2009 (Focus on caseworker interviews, activation of recipients of sickness benefits)
- Unge-Godt i gang, 2009-2010 (Focus on caseworker interviews, early activations, mentors – young people under the age of 30 with and without education)
- På rette vej i job, 2010-2012 (Focus on caseworker interviews, company-based training, company based mentoring – recipients of social benefits)
- LVU-forsøget, 2011-2012 (Focus on job centre intervention versus intervention by private agencies – unemployed persons in long-term education/academics)
- Mentorforsøget, 2012-2013 (Focus on social mentors – young persons under the age of 30 who are recipients of social benefits)
RCTs currently underway:
- IPS (Focus on IPS consultancy). IPS stands for Individual Placement and Support. It is an evidence-based approach to supported employment for people who have a severe mental illness.
- Sherpa: A “Sherpa” shows the way but does not define the individual targets or carry the burden. Through the use of Sherpa mentors, job consultancy guides and company-based training, this intervention helps people with less severe mental illnesses into work.
- Lær at tackle job og sygdom (Committee for Health Information). This is a course for people suffering from illness who are in receipt of sickness benefits, with a focus on how to deal with illness and focus on job opportunities.
- Den gode samtale 2 (a nudge-experiment).
- Jobfirst. A systematic company-based intervention for vulnerable recipients of benefits.
- IBBIS: An intervention testing whether the integration of employment and healthcare efforts for long-term sick-listed with mental health problems can improve employment outcomes.
Go to Jobfirst by following the link below.