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.

 

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Conditions for high-potential female entrepreneurship
Individual and environmental factors can lead women to start innovative market-expanding and export-oriented ventures—or block them

Siri A. Terjesen

Female-led ventures that are market-expanding, export-oriented, and innovative contribute substantially to local and national economic development, as well as to the female entrepreneur’s economic welfare. Female-led ventures also serve as models that can encourage other high-potential female entrepreneurs. The supply of high-potential entrepreneurial ventures is driven by individuals’ entrepreneurial attitudes and institutional factors associated with a country’s conditions for entrepreneurial expansion. A systematic assessment of those factors can show policymakers the strengths and weaknesses of the environment for high-potential female entrepreneurship.

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  • Rethinking the skills gap Updated

    Better understanding of skills mismatch is essential to finding effective policy options

    Evidence suggests that productivity would be much higher and unemployment much lower if the supply of and demand for skills were better matched. As a result, skills mismatch between workers (supply) and jobs (demand) commands the ongoing attention of policymakers in many countries. Policies intended to address the persistence of skills mismatch focus on the supply side of the issue by emphasizing worker education and training. However, the role of the demand side, that is, employers’ rigid skill requirements, garners comparatively little policy attention.
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  • Climate change, natural disasters, and migration Updated

    The relationship between climate change, natural disasters, and migration is not straightforward and presents many complexities

    The relationship between climatic shocks, climate related disasters, and migration has received increasing attention in recent years and is quite controversial. One view suggests that climate change and its associated natural disasters increase migration. An alternative view suggests that climate change may only have marginal effects on migration. Knowing whether climate change and natural disasters lead to more migration is crucial to better understand the different channels of transmission between climatic shocks and migration and to formulate evidence-based policy recommendations for the efficient management of the consequences of natural disasters.
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  • Employers and the gender wage gap

    Sorting across workplaces, and unequal rewards within them, are major causes of the gender wage gap

    In most developed countries, women have closed the gap in educational attainment and labor market experience, yet gender wage gaps persist. This has led to an increased focus on the role of employers and employment practices. In particular, research has focused on the types of workplace where men and women work, their promotion prospects and the extent to which they are rewarded differently for similar work. Understanding the relative importance of these features, and the mechanisms that generate them, is necessary to design effective policy responses.
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  • How are minimum wages set? Updated

    Countries set minimum wages in different ways, and some countries set different wages for different groups of workers

    Richard Dickens , September 2023
    The minimum wage has never been as high on the political agenda as it is today, with politicians in Germany, the UK, the US, and other OECD countries implementing substantial increases in the rate. One reason for the rising interest is the growing consensus among economists and policymakers that minimum wages, set at the right level, may help low paid workers without harming employment prospects. But how should countries set their minimum wage rate? The processes that countries use to set their minimum wage rate and structure differ greatly, as do the methods for adjusting it. The different approaches have merits and shortcomings.
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  • Should the earned income tax credit rise for childless adults? Updated

    The earned income tax credit boosts income and work effort among low-income parents, especially single mothers, and has contributed to the steep rise in employment among single mothers in the 1990s.

    Harry J. Holzer , September 2023
    The earned income tax credit provides important benefits to low-income families with children. At substantial costs (over $70 billion to the US federal government), it increases the incomes of such families while encouraging parents to work more by subsidizing their incomes. But low-income adults without children and non-custodial parents receive very low payments under the program in most years. Many of these adults are less-educated men, whose labor force participation rates and relative wages have been declining for years. They might benefit significantly from a more generous earned income tax credit for childless adults.
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  • Do institutions matter for entrepreneurial development? Updated

    In post-Soviet countries, well-functioning institutions are needed to foster productive entrepreneurial development and growth

    Ruta Aidis , August 2023
    Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the differing impact of institutions on entrepreneurship development is undeniable. Several post-Soviet countries benefitted from early international integration by joining the EU, adopting the euro, and becoming OECD members. This process enabled entrepreneurship to develop within institutional contexts where democratic and free market principles were strengthened. In general, however, post-Soviet economies continue to be characterized by higher levels of corruption, complex business regulations, weak rule of law, uncertain property rights and often, lack of political will for institutional change.
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  • How should job displacement wage losses be insured? Updated

    Wage losses upon re-employment can seriously harm long-tenured displaced workers if they are not properly insured

    Donald O. Parsons , July 2023
    Job displacement represents a serious earnings risk to long-tenured workers through lower re-employment wages, and these losses may persist for many years. Moreover, this risk is often poorly insured, although not for a lack of policy interest. To reduce this risk, most countries mandate scheduled wage insurance (severance pay), although it is provided only voluntarily in others, including the US. Actual-loss wage insurance is uncommon, although perceived difficulties may be overplayed. Both approaches offer the hope of greater consumption smoothing, with actual-loss plans carrying greater promise, but more uncertainty, of success.
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  • Instruction time and educational outcomes

    The quality of instruction and the activities it replaces determine the success of increased instruction time

    Increasing instruction time might seem a simple way to improve students' outcomes. However, there is substantial variation in its effects reported in the literature. When focusing on school day extensions, some studies find no effects, while others find that an additional hour of daily instruction significantly improves test scores. A similar pattern arises when examining the effect of additional days of class. These mixed findings likely reflect differences in the quality of instruction or in the activities that are being replaced by additional instruction. Hence these elements need to be considered when designing policies that increase instruction time.
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  • How to support adult caregivers?

    Caregiving for older adults is detrimental to caregivers’ well-being and requires policy interventions to support them

    Joan Costa-Font , June 2023
    Some studies estimate that the value of time spent on unpaid caregiving is 2.7% of the GDP of the EU. Such a figure exceeds what EU countries spend on formal long-term care as a share of GDP (1.5%). Adult caregiving can exert significant harmful effects on the well-being of caregivers and can exacerbate the existing gender inequalities in employment. To overcome the detrimental cognitive costs of fulfilling the duty of care to older adults, focus should be placed on the development of support networks, providing caregiving subsidies, and enhancing labor market legislation that brings flexibility and level-up pay.
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  • The widespread impacts of remittance flows Updated

    Remittances have the potential to lift developing economies

    Remittances have risen spectacularly in absolute terms and in relation to traditional sources of foreign exchange, such as export revenues. Remittances can improve the well-being of family members left behind and boost growth rates of receiving economies. They can also create a culture of dependency, lowering labor force participation in recipient nations, promoting conspicuous consumption, and accelerating environmental degradation. A more thorough understanding of their impacts can help formulate policies that enable developing economies to harness the most out of these monetary inflows.
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  • Unions and investment in intangible capital Updated

    When workers and firms cannot commit to long-term contracts and capital investments are sunk, union power can reduce investment

    Although coverage of collective bargaining agreements has been declining for decades in most countries, it is still extensive, especially in non-Anglo-Saxon countries. Strong unions may influence firms' incentives to invest in capital, particularly in sectors where capital investments are sunk (irreversible), as in research-intensive sectors. Whether unions affect firms' investment in capital depends on the structure and coordination of bargaining, the preference of unions between wages and employment, the quality of labor-management relations, the structure of corporate governance, and the existence of social pacts, among other factors.
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  • Eliminating discrimination in hiring isn’t enough

    Firms interested in workplace diversity should consider the post-hiring stage and why some minority employees choose to leave

    Mackenzie Alston , May 2023
    While many firms have recognized the importance of recruiting and hiring diverse job applicants, they should also pay attention to the challenges newly hired diverse candidates may face after entering the company. It is possible that they are being assessed by unequal or unequitable standards compared to their colleagues, and they may not have sufficient access to opportunities and resources that would benefit them. These disparities could affect the career trajectory, performance, satisfaction, and retention of minority employees. Potential solutions include randomizing task assignments and creating inclusive networking and support opportunities.
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  • Dec 15, 2023 - Dec 16, 2023

    G²LM|LIC & BREAD Conference on Development Economics

    Nairobi, Kenya

    The IZA/FCDO Gender, Growth and Labor Markets in Low-Income Countries Programme (G²LM|LIC) and the Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD) are pleased to announce a joint Conference on Development Economics .The conference will consist of presentations of advanced stage research by senior or junior researchers, and presentations of early stage research by junior researchers.

  • Jan 15, 2024 - Mar 18, 2024

    IZA/FCDO ONLINE Development Economics Course

    Online

    This course addresses the question of why fundamentally equal humans living in different countries enjoy very different standards of living. The aim of this course is to make the very latest research in economics on these issues accessible to anyone who is sufficiently curious about it. It is modeled after the award-winning undergraduate development course at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), and, like its model, it is entirely based on research articles.

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