It is of general benefit that people do not stay unemployed too long and that those who are unemployed exert a reasonable effort to find a new job. While it turns out that they spend surprisingly little time looking for a job, the efficiency of this search can be improved in various ways. One, rather costly, is to provide more counseling and coaching, provide child care, another less costly is to give more search means.
This is what Randolph Beard, George Ford, Richard Saba and Richard Seals Jr. study by looking out the availability of the Internet impacts job search. They highlight one particular aspect of job search: discouragement. Indeed, nothing is worse than someone who is not even trying to find a job. Well, it turns out that having Internet access at home reduces the occurrence of discouragement in job search. Internet access at public locations like libraries have a similar effect. This is not unimportant, because becoming unemployed, especially a longer time where you may become tempted to abandon, lets you rethink budget priorities and Internet access may be among the first items to go. In such circumstances, it may make sense to offer free Internet access.