Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Panel Paper: Understanding Non-Compliance: REA Case Study

Friday, November 13, 2015 : 8:30 AM
President's Room (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Jacob Alex Klerman, Amy Minzner and Valerie H. Benson, Abt Associates
Anecdotal evidence suggests that, in most nominally mandatory social programs, no shows are common; fifty percent appears to be a common rule of thumb.  This paper uses rich, large, multi-state, data from the Reemployment and Eligibility Assessment (REA) program to better understand these high rates of non-compliance.

Consistent with its name, the REA program reviews program eligibility and provides assistance with reemployment for those receiving Unemployment Insurance (UI) compensation.  Approximately six weeks after the start of a UI claim, UI recipients receive a letter instructing them to perform specified pre-meeting activities, to appear for a, pre-scheduled, in person, meeting at a local state labor force agency office, and to complete post-meeting activities usually to be specified at the meeting.  Meetings last thirty to ninety minutes.  Failure to appear results in loss of the UI benefit—in some states for the week of non-appearance, in other states until compliance.

Under contract from the U.S. Department of Labor Chief Evaluation Office (DOL/CEO) and Office of Unemployment Insurance (DOL/OUI), Abt Associates is conducting a five state (IN, NJ, NY, WA, WI) random assignment evaluation of the impact of REA and variants of REA relative to other variants and no REA.  Projected total enrollment in the study is approximately half a million.  In order to monitor that the state is providing services as per random assignment status and in support of the evaluation’s implementation analysis, the evaluation is receiving detailed information on service provision.  That detailed information includes:  weekly UI payments, reasons for non-payment (e.g., failure to appear for the REA meeting, detection of ineligibility at the REA meeting), scheduled date of the REA meeting, reschedules of the REA meeting, attendance at the REA meeting, completion of required pre- and post-meeting activities. 

This paper provides early results from the implementation analysis’s site visits and analyses of the detailed service provision data.  Specifically, the core analysis of the paper tracks the evolution over time of compliance relative to the initial scheduled data for the REA meeting; i.e., it plots who:  (i) complied;  (ii) rescheduled;  and (iii) rescheduled and complied.  Overlaid on this analysis is exit from UI.  UI is not an absorbing state.  Instead, the goal is for UI claimants to leave UI for employment. 

Early analysis suggests that much, but far from all, of the no show rate is UI claimants who exit UI between the time the letter is received and the scheduled date or shortly thereafter.  The early analysis also suggests a moderate reschedule rate, with no show rates at reschedules lower than initial no shows, but still non-trivial.  Reschedules are approximately evenly divided between those that occur before the initial meeting, immediately thereafter, and only once the UI benefit is terminated.  Finally, early analysis suggests that patterns vary by state and by office within state.  The qualitative field work provides some insights into plausible explanations for that cross-state and cross-office variation. 

Analysis is ongoing.  The presentation will include several months of data from several states.