April 2024

IZA DP No. 16924: Do Reemployment Bonuses Increase Employment? Evidence from the Idaho Return to Work Bonus Program

Duncan Hobbs, Michael R. Strain

In June 2020, Idaho announced the Return to Work Bonus program, which provided residents who returned to work with bonuses of up to $1,500. Using multiple data sources, we present difference-in-differences, triple differences, and synthetic control estimates suggesting the program may have increased individual employment and accelerated flows into employment from unemployment and from nonparticipation in the labor force. We show the program likely increased state-level employment rates. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first paper to study the effects of reemployment bonuses on the U.S. labor market outside an experimental setting.