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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The shadow economy in industrial countries 

Reducing the size of the shadow economy requires reducing its attractiveness while improving official institutions

Dominik H. Enste

The shadow (underground) economy plays a major role in many countries. People evade taxes and regulations by working in the shadow economy or by employing people illegally. On the one hand, this unregulated economic activity can result in reduced tax revenue and public goods and services, lower tax morale and less tax compliance, higher control costs, and lower economic growth rates. But on the other hand, the shadow economy can be a powerful force for advancing institutional change and can boost the overall production of goods and services in the economy. The shadow economy has implications that extend beyond the economy to the political order.

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  • Female poverty and intrahousehold inequality in transition economies Updated

    An unequal distribution of resources within the family is a special concern for female poverty

    Luca Piccoli , February 2023
    Transition to a market economy is accompanied by a period of greater economic uncertainty. Women are likely to suffer substantial disadvantages from this uncertainty compared to men as they are, for example, more likely to lose their job. This not only implies a monetary loss for the entire family, but also degrades female bargaining power within the household, possibly further aggravating their well-being. When intrahousehold inequality—an unequal distribution of resources among family members—exists, female poverty might be significantly larger than what can be deduced using standard household-based poverty measures.
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  • Covid-19 and the youth-to-adult unemployment gap

    Is the youth labor market bearing the brunt of the pandemic?

    Francesco Pastore , January 2023
    The Covid-19 pandemic has produced unprecedented negative effects on the global economy, affecting both the demand and supply side. Its consequences in terms of job losses have been important in many European countries. A large number of firms have been forced to dismiss at least part of their workforce or to close down all together. Considering that young people are usually penalized more than their adult counterparts during economic crises due to the so-called “last-in-first-out” principle, it is worthwhile to evaluate if the youth will also end up paying the highest price during this pandemic-induced recession.
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  • Does government spending crowd out voluntary labor and donations? Updated

    There is little evidence that government spending crowds out private charitable donations of time and money

    Private charitable contributions play an essential role in most economies. From a policy perspective, there is concern that comprehensive government spending might crowd out private charitable donations. If perfect crowding out occurs, then every dollar spent by the government will lead to a one-for-one decrease in private spending, leaving the total level of welfare unaltered. Understanding the magnitude and the causes of crowding out is crucial from a policy perspective, as crowding out represents a hidden cost to public spending and can thus have significant consequences for government policies toward public welfare provision.
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  • Fertility postponement and labor market outcomes Updated

    Postponed childbearing improves women’s labor market outcomes but may reduce overall fertility

    Massimiliano Bratti , January 2023
    The rise in the average age of women bearing their first child is a well-established demographic trend in recent decades. Postponed childbearing can have important consequences for the mothers and, at a macro level, for the country in which they live. Research has primarily focused on the effect postponing fertility has on mothers’ labor market outcomes and on the total number of children a woman has in her lifetime. Most research finds that postponing the first birth raises a mother's labor force participation and wages but may have negative effects on overall fertility, especially in the absence of supportive family-friendly policies.
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  • May 12, 2023 - May 13, 2023

    SOLE Annual Meeting

    Philadelphia, United States

    The Society of Labor Economists will hold its Twenty-Eighth Annual Meetings May 12–13, 2023, at the Sonesta Philadelphia Rittenhouse Square.

  • Sep 21, 2023 - Sep 23, 2023

    EALE 2023 Conference

    Prague, Czech Republic

    You can submit your paper here.