The Value of Information for Choices of Education and Training: Experimental Evidence on Customer-Focused Scorecard Performance Reporting Systems
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
In collaboration with the State of New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development and several local Workforce Investment Boards, we conduct a field experiment to assess how different information about training program providers influences customer evaluation of occupation-specific variables and choice of providers. Shortly after workforce customers begin to receive services at one-stop career centers, we randomly assign them into one of three experimental groups, where we vary information about the characteristics of the training provider and the post-training outcomes shown on an online information tool. The treatments differ in the information available about the completion rate, placement rate, and post-training earnings of users of different training providers. A “basic” information treatment provides subjects with aggregated information, by training provider, on outcomes for customers using a training provider. A “rich” treatment allows subjects to break out this information by relevant demographic variables. The control group uses the existing NJ TOPPS system available in one-stop career centers.
First, we elicit intentions and expectations from subjects about their intended occupational and training choices, their expected earnings and employability in the intended occupation, and the expected time length of training. Subjects are then guided through “scorecard” information about their intended occupation and training providers for that occupation, specific to the information treatment. Finally, we again elicit intentions and expectations related to occupational choice and training, allowing us to measure changes in these variables. In addition to the immediate results of the information treatment, which allows us to test for changes in expectations about occupation-specific earnings and employability, we use administrative data to follow subjects through their choice of training provider, allowing us to test for differences in the distribution of training provider choices across information treatments. The field experiment results will provide crucial knowledge to aid policymakers as they develop information tools for customers in workforce development and other policy areas, and, more broadly, will evaluate to what degree information can help meet policy goals of improving customer training experiences and employment outcomes.