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

    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

    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

    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

    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

Structural or cyclic? Labor markets in recessions

How should policy respond to higher unemployment?

Persistent unemployment after recessions and the policies required to bring it down are the subject of an ongoing debate. One view suggests there are fundamental changes in the labor market that imply a long-term higher rate of unemployment, requiring the implementation of structural policy reforms. The alternative view is that the slow recovery of the economy is due to cyclic reasons coming from lack of demand which prevents unemployment from falling quickly. Knowing whether higher unemployment is caused by structural change in the labor market or whether the problem is cyclic determines how effective policy can be in addressing the problem.

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Institutional long-term care and government regulation

Focus on family and portable allowances to lower the costs of institutional long-term care while monitoring its quality

The demand for institutional long-term care is likely to remain high in OECD countries, because of longer life expectancy and falling cohabitation rates of the elderly with family members. As shortages of qualified nurses put a cap on the supply of beds at nursing homes, excess demand builds. That puts upward pressure on prices, which may not reflect the quality of the services that are provided. Monitoring the quality of nursing home services is high on the agenda of OECD governments. Enlisting feedback from family visitors and introducing portable benefits might improve quality at little extra cost.

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Goal setting and worker motivation

Individual work goals can increase a worker’s performance, but they need to be chosen wisely

Employers want motivated and productive employees. Are there ways to increase employee motivation without relying solely on monetary incentives, such as pay-for-performance schemes? One tool that has shown promise in recent decades for improving worker performance is setting goals, whether they are assigned by management or self-chosen. Goals are powerful motivators for workers, with the potential for boosting productivity in an organization. However, if not chosen carefully or if used in unsuitable situations, goals can have undesired and harmful consequences. Goals are a powerful tool that needs to be applied with caution.

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