Do inaccurate expectations about job seeker competitiveness contribute to poor job matching in developing countries? We utilize the largest online job portal in the Middle East and North Africa region to evaluate the effect of an intervention delivering information about job seeker competitiveness to job applicants. Providing information about the relative fit of an applicant’s background for a particular job causes job seekers to apply for jobs that are better matches for their background. The effects of information are largest among entry-level workers with higher levels of education, who generally face the highest unemployment rates in the region. The findings are consistent with the hypothesis that changes over time in demand for skills in the job market may lead to inaccurate expectations that hinder labour market matching. Improving the efficiency of online job search may be particularly welfare-enhancing in the Middle East and North Africa region given that the young, highly-educated subpopulation that faces the greatest labour market hurdles also has the highest level of internet connectedness.
Written with Benjamin Feigenberg (University of Illinois Chicago) and So Yoon Ahn (Columbia University)