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Private Deception and the Rise of Public Employment Offices in the United States, 1890–1930

Private Deception and the Rise of Public Employment Offices in the United States, 1890–1930

Chapter:
(p.155) 5 Private Deception and the Rise of Public Employment Offices in the United States, 1890–1930
Source:
Studies of Labor Market Intermediation
Author(s):
Woong Lee
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226032900.003.0006

This chapter provides a rationale for the establishment of public employment offices and explores the relationship between the development of public employment offices and labor market conditions in the United States to argue that public employment offices were effective in protecting job-seekers. The introduction of public offices may inject competition that either causes low-quality private agencies to improve or drives them out of the market. The high use of public offices by job-seekers during the periods of World War I and the Great Depression is irrelevant to the hypothesis that public offices contributed to lowering the degree of asymmetric information between job-seekers and private agencies. The services by public employment offices are always pertinent for certain groups such as illegal immigrants, very low-skilled workers, or low-educated workers who have little information about the labor market and little recourse to recover damages if exploited.

Keywords:   public employment offices, labor market conditions, job seekers, employment, illegal immigrants, low-skilled workers

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