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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Gender wage discrimination
Does the extent of competition in labor markets explain why female workers are paid less than men?

There are pronounced and persistent wage differences between men and women in all parts of the world. A significant element of these wage disparities can be attributed to differences in worker and workplace characteristics, which are likely to mirror differences in worker productivity. However, a large part of these differences remains unexplained, and it is common to attribute them to discrimination by the employer that is rooted in prejudice against female workers. Yet recent empirical evidence suggests that, to a large extent, the gaps reflect “monopsonistic” wage discrimination—that is, employers exploiting their wage-setting power over women—rather than any sort of prejudice.

  • Sexual harassment in the workplace Updated

    The #MeToo movement brought heightened attention to sexual harassment and a search for new approaches to combat it

    Joni Hersch , July 2024
    Workplace sexual harassment is internationally condemned as sex discrimination and a violation of human rights, and more than 140 countries have enacted legislation prohibiting it. Sexual harassment increases absenteeism and turnover and lowers productivity and job satisfaction. Yet, it remains pervasive and underreported, as the #MeToo movement starkly revealed in October 2017. Standard workplace policies such as training and a complaints process have proven inadequate. Initiatives such as bans on confidential settlements and measures that support market incentives for deterrence may offer the most promise.
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  • Unemployment benefits and unemployment Updated

    The challenge of unemployment benefits is to protect workers while minimizing undesirable side effects

    All developed economies have unemployment benefit programs to protect workers against major income losses during spells of unemployment. By enabling unemployed workers to meet basic consumption needs, the programs protect workers from having to sell their assets or accept jobs below their qualifications. The programs also help stabilize the economy during recessions. If benefits are too generous, however, the programs can lengthen unemployment and raise the unemployment rate. The policy challenge is to protect workers while minimizing undesirable side effects.
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  • The effects of public sector employment on the economy Updated

    The size and wage level of the public sector affect overall employment volatility and the economy

    Public sector jobs are established by governments to directly provide goods and services. Governments may also choose to regulate the size of the public sector in order to stabilize targeted national employment levels. However, economic research suggests that these effects are uncertain and critically depend on how public wages are determined. Rigid public sector wages lead to perverse effects on private employment, while flexible public wages lead to a stabilizing effect. Public employment also has important productivity and redistributive effects.
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  • Public or private job placement services — Are private ones more effective? Updated

    Outsourcing to the private sector can only be effective if the service quality can be contracted on

    Gesine Stephan , May 2024
    Expenditures on job placement and related services make up a substantial share of many countries’ gross domestic products. Contracting out to private providers is often proposed as a cost-efficient alternative to the state provision of placement services. However, the responsible state agency has to be able and willing to design and monitor sufficiently complete contracts to ensure that the private contractors deliver the desired service quality. None of the empirical evidence indicates that contracting-out is necessarily more effective or more cost-efficient than public employment services.
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