Evidence-based policy making

IZA World of Labor is an online platform that provides policy analysts, journalists, academics and society generally with relevant and concise information on labor market issues. Based on the latest research, it provides current thinking on labor markets worldwide in a clear and accessible style. IZA World of Labor aims to support evidence-based policy making and increase awareness of labor market issues.

featured article

Matching as a regression estimator

Matching avoids making assumptions about the functional form of the regression equation, making analysis more reliable

Dan A. Black

“Matching” is a statistical technique used to evaluate the effect of a treatment by comparing the treated and non-treated units in an observational study. Matching provides an alternative to older estimation methods, such as ordinary least squares (OLS), which involves strong assumptions that are usually without much justification from economic theory. While the use of simple OLS models may have been appropriate in the early days of computing during the 1970s and 1980s, the remarkable increase in computing power since then has made other methods, in particular matching, very easy to implement.

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  • Designing labor market regulations in developing countries Updated

    Labor market regulation should aim to improve the functioning of the labor market while protecting workers

    Gordon Betcherman, September 2019
    Governments regulate employment to protect workers and improve labor market efficiency. But, regulations, such as minimum wages and job security rules, can be controversial. Thus, decisions on setting employment regulations should be based on empirical evidence of their likely impacts. Research suggests that most countries set regulations in the appropriate range. But this is not always the case and it can be costly when countries over- or underregulate their labor markets. In developing countries, effective regulation also depends on enforcement and education policies that will increase compliance.
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  • The labor market in Russia, 2000–2017

    Low unemployment and high employment, but also low, volatile pay and high inequality characterize the Russian labor market

    Vladimir Gimpelson, September 2019
    Being the largest economy in the Eurasian region, Russia's labor market affects economic performance and well-being in several former Soviet countries. Over the period 2000–2017, the Russian labor market survived several deep crises and underwent substantial structural changes. Major shocks were absorbed largely via wage adjustments, while aggregate employment and unemployment showed little sensitivity. Workers have paid the price for this rather stable employment situation in the form of volatile wages and a high risk of low pay.
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  • Public employment in the Middle East and North Africa

    Does a changing public sector workforce in the MENA region provide an opportunity for efficient restructuring?

    Public sector hiring has been an essential component of the social bargains that have maintained political stability in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). As these bargains eroded, public sector workforces contracted in relative terms owing to a partial freeze on hiring and the promise of lifetime job security for incumbent workers. This had profound effects on the age composition of the workforce. The upcoming retirement of many workers provides an opportunity to restructure public sector hiring to emphasize meritocratic recruitment processes and performance-based compensation systems.
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  • Obesity and labor market outcomes Updated

    The hidden private costs of obesity: lower earnings and a lower probability of employment

    Susan L. Averett, August 2019
    Rising obesity is a pressing global public health problem responsible for rising health care costs and in some countries one of the leading causes of preventable deaths. There is substantial evidence that obese people are less likely to be employed and, when employed, earn lower wages. There is some evidence that the lower earnings are a result of discriminatory hiring and sorting into jobs with less customer contact. Understanding whether obesity is associated with adverse labor market outcomes and ascertaining the source of these outcomes are essential for designing effective public policy.
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  • Sep 23, 2019 - Sep 25, 2019

    4th IZA Workshop on the Economics of Education

    IZA, Bonn

    The aim of the workshop is to bring together about 25 researchers working on the economics of education.

  • Sep 26, 2019 - Sep 27, 2019

    3rd IZA/HSE Workshop on Skills and Preferences and Labor Market Outcomes in Post-transition and Emerging Economies

    St. Petersburg, Russia

    Most empirical research on skills (cognitive and non-cognitive) and preferences has largely relied on data from high-income, industrialized countries. There is, however, a growing literature that extends this line of research to post-transition and emerging economies, which may be of particular scientific interest because it gives the opportunity to study contexts with a much wider variability of conditions.

  • Oct 07, 2019

    2019 joint Cedefop and OECD Symposium: The next steps for Apprenticeship

    Paris, France

    The joint Cedefop/OECD symposium on apprenticeship brings together policy makers, practitioners and researchers from around the world to consider new research exploring the next steps for apprenticeship provision. The symposium organisers would welcome contributions on how apprenticeship provision is changing or would need to change in response to external mega trends, such as socio-demographic and socio-economic changes, new technologies and labour market changes, new forms of work organisation, trends in education and training.

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