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

Human capital effects of marriage payments 

Investing in female human capital can reduce brideprice and dowry practices and increase welfare

Siwan Anderson

Payments at the time of marriage, which are ubiquitous in developing countries, can be substantial enough to impoverish parents. Brideprice and dowry have both been linked to domestic violence against women, and inflation in these payments has prompted legislation against them in several jurisdictions. Marriage payments are often a substitute for investment in female human capital, so from a welfare and policy perspective, they should be prohibited. This highlights the importance of promoting direct economic returns over legal and customary rights.

MoreLess
  • The labor market in New Zealand, 2000−2021 Updated

    Employment has grown steadily, unemployment is low, and the gender gap and skill premiums have fallen

    David C. Maré , August 2022
    New Zealand is a small open economy, with large international labor flows and skilled immigrants. After the global financial crisis (GFC) employment took four years to recover, while unemployment took more than a decade to return to pre-crisis levels. Māori, Pasifika, and young workers were worst affected. The Covid-19 pandemic saw employment decline and unemployment rise but this was reversed within a few quarters. However, the long-term impact of the pandemic remains uncertain.
    MoreLess
  • Demographic and economic determinants of migration Updated

    Push and pull factors drive the decision to stay or move

    Nicole B. Simpson , July 2022
    There are a myriad of economic and non-economic forces behind the decision to migrate. Migrants can be “pushed” out of their home countries due to deteriorating economic conditions or political unrest. Conversely, migrants are often “pulled” into destinations that offer high wages, good health care, strong educational systems, or linguistic proximity. In making their decision, individuals compare the net benefits of migration to the costs. By better understanding what forces affect specific migrant flows (e.g. demographic characteristics, migrant networks, and economic conditions), policymakers can set policy to target (or reduce) certain types of migrants.
    MoreLess
  • The gender gap in time allocation

    Gender inequalities in daily time allocation may have detrimental effects on earnings and well-being

    Many countries experience gender differences, of various magnitudes, in the time devoted to paid work (e.g. market work time) and unpaid work (e.g. housework and childcare). Since household responsibilities influence the participation of women, especially mothers, in the labor market, the unequal sharing of unpaid work, with women bearing the brunt of housework and childcare, is one of the main drivers of gender inequality in the labor market. Understanding the factors behind these gender inequalities is crucial for constructing policies aimed at promoting gender equality and combating gender-based discrimination.
    MoreLess
  • Parental leave and maternal labor supply Updated

    Parental leave increases the family–work balance, but prolonged leave may have negative impacts on mothers’ careers

    Astrid Kunze , June 2022
    Numerous studies have investigated whether the provision and generosity of parental leave affects the employment and career prospects of women. Parental leave systems typically provide either short unpaid leave mandated by the firm, as in the US, or more generous and universal leave mandated by the government, as in Canada and several European countries. Key economic policy questions include whether, at the macro level, female employment rates have increased due to parental leave policies; and, at the micro level, whether the probability of returning to work and career prospects have increased for mothers after childbirth.
    MoreLess
  • Is the post-communist transition over?

    Support for economic liberalization reforms is essential, but it grows stronger only where societies experience the effects of reversing these reforms

    An extensive program of economic liberalization reforms, even when it generates positive outcomes, does not automatically generate support for further reforms. Societies respond with strong support only after experiencing the effects of reversing these reforms (i.e. corruption, inequality of opportunity). This point is illustrated through the example of the post-communist transformation in Eastern Europe and Central Asia—arguably a context where the end point of reforms was never clearly defined, and even successful reforms are now associated with a degree of reform suspicion.
    MoreLess
  • Should unemployment insurance cover partial unemployment? Updated

    Time-limited benefits may yield significant welfare gains and help underemployed part-time workers move to full-time employment

    Susanne Ek Spector , June 2022
    A considerable share of the labor force consists of underemployed part-time workers: employed workers who, for various reasons, are unable to work as much as they would like to. Offering unemployment benefits to part-time unemployed workers is controversial. On the one hand, such benefits can strengthen incentives to take a part-time job rather than remain fully unemployed, thus raising the probability of obtaining at least some employment. On the other hand, these benefits weaken incentives for part-time workers to look for full-time employment. It is also difficult to distinguish people who work part-time by choice from those who do so involuntarily.
    MoreLess
  • Determinants of inequality in transition countries

    Market changes and limited redistribution contributed to high income and wealth inequality growth in Eastern Europe

    High levels of economic inequality may lead to lower economic growth and can have negative social and political impacts. Recent empirical research shows that income and wealth inequalities in Eastern Europe since the fall of socialism increased significantly more than previously suggested. Currently, the average Gini index (a common measure) of inequality in Eastern Europe is about 3 percentage points higher than in the rest of Europe. This rise in inequality was initially driven by privatization, liberalization, and deregulation reforms, and, more recently, has been amplified by technological change and globalization coupled with relatively ungenerous income and wealth redistribution policies.
    MoreLess
  • Does employee ownership improve performance? Updated

    Employee ownership generally increases firm performance and worker outcomes

    Douglas Kruse , May 2022
    Employee ownership has attracted growing attention for its potential to improve economic outcomes for companies, workers, and the economy in general, and help reduce inequality. Over 100 studies across many countries indicate that employee ownership is generally linked to better productivity, pay, job stability, and firm survival—though the effects are dispersed and causation is difficult to firmly establish. Free-riding often appears to be overcome by worker co-monitoring and reciprocity. Financial risk is an important concern but is generally minimized by higher pay and job stability among employee owners.
    MoreLess
show more
show more
  • Sep 16, 2022 - Sep 17, 2022

    5th IDSC of IZA Workshop: Matching Workers and Jobs Online - New Developments and Opportunities for Social Science and Practice

    Online

    Like many forms of economic exchange, the process of matching workers to jobs has rapidly migrated online in the last two decades. Thus, understanding how online labor matching mechanisms work; how they affect economic outcomes like employment, wages and inequality; and learning how to take advantages of the ‘big data’ that are generated by online markets all have important implications for the future of labor. 

  • Sep 22, 2022 - Sep 23, 2022

    IZA Workshop on Labor Market Institutions

    Online

    The aim of the meeting is to bring together senior and junior researchers to discuss their most recent research related to labor market institutions.

  • Sep 26, 2022

    2nd IZA Workshop: Climate Change and Human Wellbeing

    Online

    In addition to causing damages to the environment and human health, climate change as well as adaptation to global warming pose challenges for the functioning of society and of labor markets. In particular, this raises questions about the implications of climate change for a range of wellbeing and labor market outcomes, among others health, income, happiness, productivity, human capital formation, migration decisions, and much else.

show more