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.

    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

Is the return to education the same for everybody?

While a four-year college degree is financially beneficial for most people, it is not necessarily the best option for everyone

A postsecondary degree is often held up as the one sure path to financial success. But is that true regardless of institutional quality, discipline studied, or individual characteristics? Is a college degree always worth the cost? Students deciding whether to invest in college and what field to study may be making the most important financial decision of their lives. The return to education varies greatly by institutional quality, discipline, and individual characteristics. Estimating the returns for as many options as possible, and making that information as transparent as possible, are paramount in helping prospective students make the best decision.

10.15185/izawol.92 92

Pension reform and couples’ joint retirement decisions

The success of policies raising the retirement age depends on people’s responsiveness to changes in pension eligibility

Rising life expectancy and the growing fiscal insolvency of public pension systems have prompted many developed countries to raise the pension entitlement age. The success of such policies depends on the responsiveness of individuals to such changes. Retirement has increasingly become a decision made jointly by a couple rather than individually by one partner. The empirical evidence indicates that almost a third of dual-earner couples in Europe and the US coordinate their retirement decision despite age differences between partners. This joint determination of retirement has important implications for policies intended to reduce the burden of pension costs.

10.15185/izawol.142 142

Wage compression and the gender pay gap

Wage-setting institutions narrow the gender pay gap but may reduce employment for some women

There are large international differences in the gender pay gap. In some developed countries in 2010–2012, women were close to earnings parity with men, while in others large gaps remained. Since women and men have different average levels of education and experience and commonly work in different industries and occupations, multiple factors can influence the gender pay gap. Among them are skill supply and demand, unions, and minimum wages, which influence the economywide wage returns to education, experience, and occupational wage differentials. Systems of wage compression narrow the gender pay gap but may also lower demand for female workers.

10.15185/izawol.150 143