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 

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Retiree migration and intergenerational conflict 

Retiree migration can have economic benefits but can also lead to intergenerational conflict in education spending

Mehmet S. Tosun

With the aging of populations, particularly in more developed countries, retirees are becoming a politically influential group. Government budgets have been feeling the strain on social insurance, health care, and other programs that benefit the elderly. Yet spending on these programs has often come at the expense of other programs such as education, which benefit primarily the younger population. Attracting retirees has been viewed as an important avenue of economic development, with positive impacts on revenue and expenditure. However, it can also have a negative impact on education spending potentially resulting in intergenerational fiscal conflict.

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  • Refugee children’s earnings in adulthood

    Refugee status and country of origin shape the economic outcomes of newcomer children later in life

    The number of refugees has increased worldwide, and about half of them are children and youth. These refugee children arrive in resettlement countries with a unique set of challenges caused by, for instance, extreme stress and trauma that call for specific policies to address their needs. Yet, the long-term effect of refugee status on newcomer children's economic trajectories varies by country of origin, signaling the need for effective resettlement support and initiatives to tackle broader systemic barriers for newcomer children, beyond refugees. Such findings challenge the commonly held notion of refugees as a distinctive, relatively homogeneous group with similar trajectories.
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  • Performance-related pay and productivity Updated

    Do performance-related pay and financial participation schemes have an effect on firms’ performance?

    A growing number of firms offer compensation packages that link pay to performance. The aim is to motivate workers to be more efficient while also increasing their attachment to the company, thereby reducing turnover and absenteeism. The effects of performance-related pay on productivity depend on the scheme type and design, with individual incentives showing the largest effect. Governments often offer tax breaks and financial incentives to promote performance-related pay, though their desirability has been questioned due to large deadweight losses involved. The diffusion of remote work will increase the relevance of performance-related pay.
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  • Firms, sorting, and the immigrant–native earnings gap

    The immigrant–native earnings gap is due in part to firm-specific factors resulting from differential sorting of workers into firms

    Benoit Dostie , January 2022
    Recent research has tried to quantify how firms contribute to the immigrant–native earnings gap. Findings from several countries show that around 20% of the gap is due to firm policies that lead to a systematic underrepresentation of immigrants at higher-paying firms. Results also show that some of the closing of the gap over time is attributable to the reallocation of immigrants toward higher-paying employers. This pattern is especially pronounced for immigrants coming from disadvantaged countries, who face several barriers at initial entry, including language difficulties and lack of recognition of their educational credentials.
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  • The relationship between recessions and health Updated

    Economic recessions seem to reduce overall mortality rates, but increase suicides and mental health problems

    Nick Drydakis , December 2021
    Recessions are complex events that affect personal health and behavior via various potentially opposing mechanisms. While recessions are known to have negative effects on mental health and lead to an increase in suicides, it has been proven that they reduce mortality rates. A general health policy agenda in relation to recessions remains ambiguous due to the lack of consistency between different individual- and country-level approaches. However, aggregate regional patterns provide valuable information, and local social planners could use them to design region-specific policy responses to mitigate the negative health effects caused by recessions.
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  • Should divorce be easier or harder? Updated

    The evidence, though weak, favors legal, easy, unilateral divorce

    Many countries have enacted legislation over the past few decades making divorce easier. Some countries have legalized divorce where it had previously been banned, and many have eased the conditions required for a divorce, such as allowing unilateral divorce (both spouses do not have to agree on the divorce). Divorce laws can regulate the grounds for divorce, division of property, child custody, and child support or maintenance payments. Reforms can have a range of social effects beyond increasing the divorce rate. They can influence female labor supply, marriage and fertility rates, child well-being, household saving, and even domestic violence and crime.
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  • The dynamics of training programs for the unemployed Updated

    Job search training and occupational skills training are both effective

    Aderonke Osikominu , December 2021
    Time plays an important role in both the design and interpretation of evaluation studies of training programs. While the start and duration of a training program are closely linked to the evolution of job opportunities, the impact of training programs in the short and longer term changes over time. Neglecting these “dynamics” could lead to an unduly negative assessment of the effects of certain training schemes. Therefore, a better understanding of the dynamic relationship between different types of training and their respective labor market outcomes is essential for a better design and interpretation of evaluation studies.
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  • Who benefits from return migration to developing countries? Updated

    Despite returnees being a potential resource, not all low- and middle-income countries benefit from their return

    Jackline Wahba , December 2021
    Return migration can have multiple benefits. It allows migrants who have accumulated savings abroad to ease credit constraints at home and set up a business. Also, emigrants from low- and middle-income countries who have invested in their human capital may earn higher wages when they return. However, whether the home country benefits from return migrants depends on the migrant's success in accumulating savings and human capital and on the home country's ability to make use of returnees’ skills and investment. To benefit from returnees, home countries need policies that encourage returnees’ investment and labor market reintegration.
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  • Gender differences in competitiveness Updated

    To what extent can different attitudes toward competition for men and women explain the gender gap in labor markets?

    Mario Lackner , November 2021
    Differences in labor market outcomes for women and men are highly persistent. Apart from discrimination, one frequently mentioned explanation could be differences in the attitude toward competition for both genders. Abundant empirical evidence indicates that multiple influences shape attitudes toward competition during different periods of the life cycle. Gender differences in competitiveness will not only influence outcomes during working age, but also during early childhood education. In order to reduce the gender gap in educational and labor market outcomes, it is crucial to understand when and why gender gaps in competitiveness arise and to study their consequences.
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  • Feb 18, 2022 - Feb 19, 2022

    PILLARS Conference on Education, Skills, and Worker Retraining

    Munich, Germany

    The purpose of the conference is to bring together researchers from a broad range of economic fields to discuss ongoing research on the future of work. Papers investigating skill requirements in the digital age and how (re-)training may help workers to adapt to changing work environments and new skill demand are of particular interest.

  • Feb 24, 2022 - Feb 25, 2022

    14th FIW-Research Conference 'International Economics'

    Vienna, Austria

    The main objective of the conference is to provide a platform for economists working in the field of ‘International Economics’ to present recent research. The broad topic of the conference is ‘International Economics’. This includes, inter alia, International Trade, International Factor Movements, Economic Integration, Trade Policy, International Trade Organizations, Economic Growth of Open Economies, Multinational Firms, Global Value Chains, International Macroeconomics and other related fields.

  • Mar 01, 2022

    Call for papers EALE conference 2022

    Padova, Italy

    All labour economists are invited to submit papers for presentation at the 34th Annual Conference of the European Association of Labour Economists, to be held in Padova, Italy, from 8 to 10 September 2022. The department of Economics and Management "Marco Fanno" of the University of Padova will host the conference.

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