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, including current concerns like the impact of Covid-19, and longer-term problems like inequality.

View our content on Covid-19—Pandemics and the labor market 

featured article

Can government policies reverse undesirable declines in fertility? 

Government policies can have a modest effect on raising fertility—but broader social changes lowering fertility are stronger

Elizabeth Brainerd

Since 1989 fertility and family formation have declined sharply in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Fertility rates are converging on—and sometimes falling below—rates in Western Europe, most of which are below replacement levels. Concerned about a shrinking and aging population and strains on pension systems, governments are using incentives to encourage people to have more children. These policies seem only modestly effective in countering the impacts of widespread social changes, including new work opportunities for women and stronger incentives to invest in education.

MoreLess
  • Temporary migration entails benefits, but also costs, for sending and receiving countries

    There are important trade-offs between temporary and permanent migration

    Many migrants do not stay in their host countries permanently. On average, 15% of migrants leave their host country in a given year, many of whom will return to their home countries. Temporary migration benefits sending countries through remittances, investment, and skills accumulation. Receiving countries benefit via increases in their prime-working age populations while facing fewer social security obligations. These fiscal benefits must be balanced against lower incentives to integrate and invest in host country specific skills for temporary migrants.
    MoreLess
  • Incentivizing sleep?

    Insufficient sleep affects employment and productivity

    Joan Costa-Font , November 2022
    Spending time sleeping not only improves individuals’ well-being, but it can influence employment outcomes and productivity. Sleep can be disrupted by company schedules and deadlines, extended working times, and several individual and household decisions. Labor market regulation and corporate strategies should factor in the immediate effect of insufficient sleep on employee fatigue and cognitive performance, and the associated effects on employment disruption and productivity loss. Sleep can be influenced by “sleep friendly” employment regulations, technology nudges, monetary incentives, and subsidies for sleeping.
    MoreLess
  • Job search requirements for older unemployed workers Updated

    Search requirements for the older unemployed affect their re-employment rates and their flows into states of inactivity

    Hans Bloemen , November 2022
    Many OECD countries have, or have had, a policy that exempts older unemployed people from the requirement to search for a job. An aging population and low participation by older workers in the labor market increasingly put public finances under strain, and spur calls for policy measures that activate labor force participation by older workers. Introducing job search requirements for older unemployed workers aims to increase their re-employment rates. Abolishing the exemption from job search requirements for the older unemployed has been shown to initiate higher outflow rates from unemployment for them.
    MoreLess
  • Firm age and job creation in the US

    New businesses are essential to keep unemployment low, but start-ups need loans in order to create jobs

    Henry R. Hyatt , November 2022
    Entrepreneurship is essential for a healthy labor market. Recent evidence shows that young businesses (at most ten years old) have, on average, accounted for all of US employment growth over the past few decades. New businesses are especially important for youth employment. However, these businesses tend to borrow a lot, and the credit constraints they face limit their ability to create jobs. Historically, much of the discussion regarding the economic importance of entrepreneurship has focused on small businesses. Empirical evidence increasingly suggests that, among small businesses, those that are young create the most jobs.
    MoreLess
show more
show more