September 2010

IZA DP No. 5170: The Dilemma of Delegating Search: Budgeting in Public Employment Services

The poor performance often attributed to many public employment services may be explained in part by a delegation problem between the central office and local job centers. In markets characterized by frictions, job centers function as match-makers, linking job seekers with relevant vacancies. Because their search intensity in contacting employers and collecting data is not verifiable by the central authority, a typical moral hazard problem can arise. To overcome the delegation problem and provide high-powered incentives for high levels of search effort on the part of job centers, we propose output-related schemes that assign greater staff capacity to agencies achieving high strike rates.