1. Introduction
  2. Subject areas

Evidence-based policy making

IZA World of Labor provides decision-makers with relevant and succinct information based on sound empirical evidence to help in formulating good policies and best practices. It provides expert know-how in an innovative structure, and a clear and accessible style.

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  • Program evaluation

    Program evaluation

    Program evaluation provides an overview of the effectiveness of a variety of policies that have been tested in diverse settings across various countries. The knowledge provided suggests whether or not the individual and the economy fair better without the measures studied.

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  • Behavioral and personnel economics

    Behavioral and personnel economics

    Behavioral economics analyzes the emotional and cognitive factors that influence the decisions of actors. Personnel economics analyzes the internal organizational strategy of the firm and the human resource management practices chosen to pursue that strategy.

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  • Migration


    Mobility is important for the functioning of markets and society. Migration deals with issues of national and international mobility, such as demand and supply, and what migration means for natives and migrants and for sending and receiving countries.

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  • Institutions


    Institutions have important consequences for the performance of households, companies, governments and entire markets; they determine the welfare of nations. Contributions explore the underlying mechanisms and the politico-economic determinants of such structures.

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  • Transition and emerging economies

    Transition and emerging economies

    The transformation of economic systems from plan to market in transition and emerging economies has significant consequences not only for labor markets in those countries. Their lessons can also guide the development of institutions and labor reform policies in other countries.

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  • Development


    Low-income countries differ from higher-income countries in that they have large informal sectors, greater prevalence of self-employment and subsistence agriculture, low female labor participation rates and poor labor market conditions. As labor is most often the only asset of someone in poverty, policies that are not associated with job creation may fail to reduce poverty. Hence, development deals with the potential of labor economics to address those challenges.

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  • Environment


    Optimal environmental policy aims at equalizing benefits and costs of improving environmental quality. While the benefits generally accrue in the form of increased health, worker productivity, quality of life, and amenity values, the costs of environmental regulations are mostly borne through impacts on industrial activity and labor market outcomes. Successful policy development requires information on the connection between environmental regulations, labor markets, and industrial activity.

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  • Education and human capital

    Education and human capital

    Education shows great resilience to shocks—labor demand for highly skilled workers has remained high in all kinds of economic conditions. Public policy for education and human capital include increasing the economic and social returns on education, fostering greater educational attainment, encouraging social and economic mobility, and providing vocational education, training, and lifelong learning.

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  • Demography, family, and gender

    Demography, family, and gender

    Population characteristics strongly predict labor market success. One of the biggest economic changes has been the rise of women in the labor market. The upcoming demographic imbalances suggest substantial adjustment processes on labor markets around the globe. Empirical evidence relating social, cultural, and biological processes to worker well-being is also provided.

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  • Data and methods

    Data and methods

    Data are the foundation for evidence-based research. Therefore, the value of different types of data collection is made transparent. Important statistical and econometric methods are explained that provide instruments to condense information and to identify and quantify correlation or causality. Data sources used in our articles are cited according to the IZA World of Labor data citation convention.

    The list of data sources can be found here.

    The list of methods can be found here.

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  1. Featured article
  2. Latest articles

Featured article

Does increasing the minimum wage reduce poverty in developing countries?

Whether raising minimum wages reduces—or increases—poverty depends on the characteristics of the labor market

Raising the minimum wage in developing countries could increase or decrease poverty, depending on labor market characteristics. Minimum wages target formal sector workers—a minority in most developing countries—many of whom do not live in poor households. Whether raising minimum wages reduces poverty depends not only on whether formal sector workers lose jobs as a result, but also on whether low-wage workers live in poor households, how widely minimum wages are enforced, how minimum wages affect informal workers, and whether social safety nets are in place.

10.15185/izawol.30 30

Immigrants in the classroom and effects on native children

Having immigrant children in the classroom may sometimes, but not always, harm educational outcomes of native children

Many countries are experiencing increasing inflows of immigrant students. This raises concerns that having a large share of students for whom the host country language is not their first language may have detrimental effects on the educational outcomes of native children. However, the evidence is mixed, with some studies finding negative effects, and others finding no effects. Whether higher concentrations of immigrant students have an effect on native students differs across countries according to factors such as organization of the school system and immigrants’ socio-economic background.

10.15185/izawol.194 194

The use of natural experiments in migration research

Data on rapid, unexpected refugee flows can credibly identify the impact of migration on native workers’ labor market outcomes

Estimating the causal effect of immigration on the labor market outcomes of native workers has been a major concern in the literature. Because immigrants decide whether and where to migrate, immigrant populations generally consist of individuals with characteristics that differ from those of a randomly selected sample. One solution is to focus on events such as civil wars and natural catastrophes that generate rapid and unexpected flows of refugees into a country unrelated to their personal characteristics, location, and employment preferences. These “natural experiments” yield estimates that find small negative effects on native workers’ employment but not on wages.

10.15185/izawol.191 191