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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Active labor market policies and crime
Unemployment increases crime among youth, while active labor market policies can mitigate the problem

Active labor market programs continue to receive high priority in wealthy countries despite the fact that the benefits appear small relative to the costs. This apparent discrepancy suggests that the programs may have a broader purpose than simply increasing employment—for instance, preventing anti-social behavior such as crime. Indeed, recent evidence shows that participation in active labor market programs reduces crime among unemployed young men. The existence of such effects could explain why it is the income-redistributing countries with greater income equality that spend the most on active labor market programs.

  • 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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  • Entrepreneurship for the poor in developing countries Updated

    Well-designed entrepreneurship programs show promise for improving earnings and livelihoods of poor workers

    Yoonyoung Cho , May 2024
    Can entrepreneurship programs be successful labor market policies for the poor? A large share of workers in developing countries are self-employed (mostly own-account workers without paid employees, often interchangeably used as micro entrepreneurs). Their share among all workers has not changed much over the past two decades in the developing world. Entrepreneurship programs provide access to finance (or assets) and advisory and networking services as well as business training with the aim of boosting workers’ earnings and reducing poverty. Programs vary in design, which can affect their impact on outcomes. Recent studies have identified some promising approaches that are yielding positive results, such as combining training and financial support.
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  • The labor market in Brazil, 2001–2022 Updated

    Brazil’s long-lasting recession has hurt the poor and has reversed inequality trends

    In the first decade of the 21st century, the Brazilian economy experienced an important expansion followed by a significant decline in inequality. The minimum wage increased rapidly, reducing inequality with no negative effects on employment or formality. This resulted from economic growth and greater supply of skilled labor. However, from 2014-2021, real wages were stagnant, and unemployment rates surged. Inequality rose again, although only marginally. Some positive signs emerged in 2022, although it is still too early to know whether they mark a return to past trends or a recovery from the pandemic.
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  • The importance of informal learning at work Updated

    On-the-job learning is more important for workers’ human capital development than formal training

    Andries De Grip , March 2024
    Although early human capital theory recognized the relevance of workers’ experience, its focus was on education and formal training. More recent studies show that much of the performance of newly hired workers is driven by learning by doing or learning from peers or supervisors in the workplace. Descriptive data show that workers learn a lot from the various tasks they perform on the job. Informal learning at work seems to be relevant for all age groups, although it is more meaningful for younger workers’ performance. Informal learning is far more important for workers’ human capital development than formal training courses.
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  • Oct 10, 2024 - Oct 11, 2024

    IZA/ECONtribute Workshop on the Economics of Education

    Online

    The 8th IZA/ECONtribute Workshop on the Economics of Education will convene international scholars focusing on the development of skills within both formal and informal educational contexts and their valuation in the labor market. The conference will feature a select group of presenters, alongside a poster session for local researchers from the host institutions. Presentations and the keynote speech will be accessible via Zoom to an external audience.