Perceived Returns to Job Search Overseas: Evidence from a Randomized Controlled Trial in the Philippines

Emily Beam, University of Michigan

The Philippines is one of the world’s largest exporters of labor; it deploys roughly 1.5 million workers overseas each year, who send back remittances that account for 10 percent of GDP. Migration can bring large income gains for migrants and their families, but the benefits of migration have been more difficult to access for rural Filipinos, who face relatively high informational and financial overseas search costs. I conduct a randomized control trial to evaluate the impact of providing rural Filipinos with information about average overseas wages and directly subsidizing job search. I find that reducing the cost of job search directly increases the likelihood of search, but induces negative selection. Updating individuals’ expectations about average wages has heterogeneous effects, reducing job search effort on the extensive margin among individuals who with low perceived probabilities of job finding.

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Presented in Poster Session 3