Journal Article

Reducing Information Asymmetries in the Youth Labor Market of Jordan with Psychometrics and Skill Based Tests

Matthew Groh, David McKenzie and Tara Vishwanath

in The World Bank Economic Review

Volume 29, issue suppl_1, pages S106-S117
Published in print June 2015 | ISSN: 0258-6770
Published online April 2015 | e-ISSN: 1564-698X | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/wber/lhv005
Reducing Information Asymmetries in the Youth Labor Market of Jordan with Psychometrics and Skill Based Tests

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Jordan's labor market for educated youth is characterized by high levels of unemployment, long periods of job search, and firms complaining that youth often lack the appropriate interpersonal and work skills. Search and matching theory offers a potential explanation: if education systems are such that graduates find it difficult to signal competence and achievement through grades and the quality of their institution, then employers might have difficult matching with suitable candidates, resulting in high unemployment. We developed and tested a labor market screening and matching service in Amman, Jordan, which aimed to generate higher employment for educated youth by reducing these matching frictions. This paper examines the first step in this process, which involved testing unemployed, tertiary-educated, youth on mental ability, English proficiency, soft skills, Excel ability, and also measuring their big five personality traits. We show that these measures have predictive power for subsequent employment and for earnings conditional on employment, even after conditioning on major, university, and other controls. Psychometric testing therefore offers the potential to reduce information asymmetries that result in labor market matching frictions.

Keywords: J64; O12; O15

Journal Article.  4001 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Development Planning and Policy

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