The threat effect of participation in active labor market programs on job search behavior of migrants in Germany

Annette Bergemann*, Marco Caliendo, Gerard J. van den Berg, Klaus F. Zimmermann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose - Labor market programs may affect unemployed individuals' behavior before they enroll. The aim of this paper is to study whether such ex ante effects differ according to ethnic origin.

Design/methodology/approach - The authors apply a method that relates self-reported perceived treatment rates and job search behavioral outcomes, such as the reservation wage or search intensity, to each other. German native workers are compared with migrants with a Turkish origin or Central and Eastern European (including Russian) background. Job search theory is used to derive theoretical predictions. The ex ante effect of the German active labor market program (ALMP) system is examined using the novel IZA Evaluation Data Set which includes self-reported assessments of the variables of interest as well as an unusually detailed amount of information on behavior, attitudes and past outcomes.

Findings - It is found that the ex ante threat effect on the reservation wage and search effort varies considerably among the groups considered.

Originality/value - The study is the first to investigate whether migrants and natives react similarly to the expectation of participating in an ALMP, and whether migrants of different regions of origin react similarly or not.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)777-795
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Manpower
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Immigrants
  • Policy evaluation
  • Reservation wage
  • Search effort
  • Expectations
  • Active labor market policy
  • Labour market
  • Germany
  • Jobs
  • Economic policy

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