In 2014, the Israeli Employment Service (IES) initiated the "Employment Circles" pilot program aimed at enhancing job market participation and preventing long-term unemployment among Social Security beneficiaries. The program includes various workshops offering job search assistance and improving employability, as well as intensive sessions with IES employment coordinators. The program is conducted in a full experimental design: In each of the participating IES offices, beneficiaries are randomly assigned to either treatment or control groups. The data in use consist of the full set of IES and National Insurance Institute administrative information regarding benefits and income.

The study suggests that 7 months into the program, the share of benefit recipients among the treatment group declined by 11–14 percentage points more than in the comparison group—a decrease of 19–22 percent compared to the share of remaining recipients in the control group. Accordingly, benefits payments decreased by NIS 1,270–1,450, a 12–18 percent decline. Thus, it seems that the program returns its costs within the first year of implementation. At this point, the current data do not allow determining whether the aforementioned decrease is attributed to employment increase – the program's main objective. This issue will be addressed by an additional research.


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