Program evaluation provides an overview of the effectiveness of a variety of labor market policies that have been tested in diverse settings across various countries. The articles analyze whether or not the individual and the economy fair better without the measures studied.
Public works programs in developing countries have the potential to reduce poverty
The success of public works programs in reducing poverty depends on their design and implementation—in practice, they do better as safety netsLaura Zimmermann, May 2014Public works programs in developing countries can reduce poverty in the long term and help low-skilled workers cope with economic shocks in the short term. But success depends on a scheme’s design and implementation. Key design factors are: properly identifying the target population; selecting the right wage; and establishing efficient implementation institutions. In practice, rationing, corruption, mismanagement, and other implementation flaws often limit the effectiveness of public works programs.MoreLess
Temporary agency work
Temporary agency work is not generally a stepping-stone to regular employmentSusan N. Houseman, May 2014Temporary agency work has expanded in most advanced economies since the 1990s, but its growth has been controversial. Some argue that these jobs offer experience and contact with potential employers, serving as a path to regular employment, particularly for low-skilled workers. Others view them as traps, fostering low-wage, unstable employment and providing little experience and few contacts.MoreLess
Do youth mentoring programs change the perspectives and improve the life opportunities of at-risk youth?
While most effects are positive, they tend to be modest and fade over time—in addition, some mentoring programs can backfireNúria Rodríguez-Planas, May 2014Mentoring programs such as Big Brothers Big Sisters of America have been providing positive role models and building social skills for more than a century. However, most formal mentoring programs are relatively novel and researchers have only recently begun to rigorously evaluate their impact on changing at-risk youth’s perspectives and providing opportunities for them to achieve better life outcomes. While a variety of mentoring and counseling programs have emerged around the world in recent years, knowledge of their effectiveness remains incomplete.MoreLess
Teenage childbearing and labor market implications for women
Teenage childbearing is less a cause of inferior labor market outcomes for women than a marker of other social problems in a girl’s lifePhillip B. Levine, July 2014It is not difficult to find statistics showing that teenage childbearing is associated with poor labor market outcomes, but why is this the case? Does having a child as a teenager genuinely affect a woman’s economic potential—or is it simply a marker of problems she might already be facing as a result of her social and family background? The answer to this question has important implications for policy measures that could be taken to improve women’s lives.MoreLess
Childcare subsidy policy: What it can and cannot accomplish
What are the implications of childcare subsidies for care quality, family well-being, and child development?Erdal Tekin, July 2014Most public expenditure on childcare in the US is made through a federal program, the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF), established as part of landmark welfare reform legislation in 1996. The main goal of the reform was to increase employment and reduce welfare dependence among low-income families. Childcare subsidies have been effective in enabling parents to work, but apparently at some cost to the well-being of parents and children.MoreLess