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Dr. Vincent Hopkins (PhD) is a faculty member in the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy.

High-salience, low-friction communication increases uptake in labour market programs during COVID-19

A seminar by Dr. Vincent Hopkins (PhD), hosted by the USask Department of Economics


Date: Friday, Dec. 3
Time: 3–4:30 pm
Location: Arts Building room 200, 9 Campus Dr.

Vaccination measures are in place at University of Saskatchewan campuses. Read the rules before visiting.

About this event

Part of the Economics Speaker Series hosted by the University of Saskatchewan Department of Economics

Speaker: Dr. Vincent Hopkins (PhD), Assistant Professor, Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Saskatchewan

Abstract: When people lose their job, labour market programs help them get back to work. But behavioural barriers may hinder enrollment in such programs—an insight with strong implications for economic recovery following COVID-19. Here, we report results from a large randomized controlled trial (N=14,008) to increase enrollment in a voluntary job counseling program. We test the impact of removing behavioural barriers to enrollment. We focus on people who lost their job during the pandemic. We present two main findings. First, increasing the salience of the program and reducing administrative friction triples enrollment in the program within the first 30 days. The impact is greatest among women, people with college/university education, and those who applied for job loss benefits in the first 8 weeks of the pandemic. Second, message framing drives engagement with communications (e.g. email open rates, click-throughs). However, this generates little difference in program enrollment. Our results demonstrate the need for a behaviourally informed approach to post-pandemic economic recovery. We also contribute to current debates about the effectiveness of behavioural interventions—i.e. “nudging”. We argue the most effective nudges improve access to social programs, as well as their framing.

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