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.
Active labor market policies and crime
Unemployment increases crime among youth, while active labor market policies can mitigate the problemTorben Tranaes, September 2015Active 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.MoreLess
Adult literacy programs in developing countries
While mostly missing their primary objectives, adult literacy programs can still improve key socio-economic outcomesNiels-Hugo Blunch, July 2017In addition to the traditional education system targeting children and youth, one potentially important vehicle to improve literacy and numeracy skills is adult literacy programs (ALPs). In many developing countries, however, these programs do not seem to achieve these hoped for, ex ante, objectives and have therefore received less attention, if not been largely abandoned, in recent years. But, evidence shows that ALPs do affect other important socio-economic outcomes such as health, household income, and labor market participation by enhancing participants’ health knowledge and income-generating activities.MoreLess
Are part-time workers less productive and underpaid?
The impact of part-time workers on firms’ productivity is unclear, and lower wages depend mainly on occupation and sectorAndrea Garnero, April 2016About one in five workers across OECD countries is employed part-time, and the share has been steadily increasing since the beginning of the economic and financial crisis in 2007. Part-time options play an important economic role by providing more flexible working arrangements for both workers and firms. Part-time employment has also contributed substantially to increasing the employment rate, especially among women. However, part-time work comes at a cost of lower wages for workers, mainly because part-time jobs are concentrated in lower paying occupations and sectors, while the impact on firms’ productivity is still not very clear.MoreLess
Can higher education reduce inequality in developing countries?
Expanding higher education might solve rising youth unemployment and widening inequality in AfricaAbebe Shimeles, July 2016Developing countries often face two well-known structural problems: high youth unemployment and high inequality. In recent decades, policymakers have increased the share of government spending on education in developing countries to address both of these issues. The empirical literature offers mixed results on which type of education is most suitable to improve gainful employment and reduce inequality: is it primary, secondary, or tertiary education? Investigating recent literature on the returns to education in selected developing countries in Africa can help to answer this question.MoreLess
Can hiring subsidies benefit the unemployed?
Hiring subsidies can be a very cost-effective way of helping the unemployed, but only when they are carefully targetedAlessio J. G. Brown, June 2015Long-term unemployment can lead to skill attrition and have detrimental effects on future employment prospects, particularly following periods of economic crises when employment growth is slow and cannot accommodate high levels of unemployment. Addressing this problem requires the use of active labor market policies targeted at the unemployed. In this context, hiring subsidies can provide temporary incentives for firms to hire unemployed workers and, when sensibly targeted, are a very cost-effective and efficient means of reducing unemployment, during both periods of economic stability and recovery.MoreLess
Can universal preschool increase the labor supply of mothers?
The success of universal preschool education depends crucially on the policy parameters and specific country contextSarah Cattan, November 2016Since the 1970s, many countries have established free or highly subsidized education for all preschool children in the hope of improving children’s learning and socio-economic life chances and encouraging mothers to join the labor force. Evaluations reveal that these policies can increase maternal employment in the short term and may continue to do so even after the child is no longer in preschool by enabling mothers to gain more job skills and increase their attachment to the labor force. However, their effectiveness depends on the policy design, the country context, and the characteristics of mothers of preschoolers.MoreLess
Central exit exams improve student outcomes
External school leaving exams raise student achievement and improve how grades are understood in the labor marketLudger Woessmann, January 2018Reaching the policy goal of improving student achievement by adding resources to the school system has often proven elusive. By contrast, ample evidence indicates that central exit exams constitute an important feature of a school system’s institutional framework, which can hold students, teachers, schools, and administrators accountable for student outcomes. While critics point to issues such as teaching test-only skills, which may leave students ill-prepared for the real world, the evidence does not bear this out. Overall, central exams are related to better student achievement, favorable labor market outcomes, and higher economic growth.MoreLess
Childcare choices and child development
Generous parental leave and affordable, high-quality childcare can foster children’s abilitiesDaniela Del Boca, March 2015The economic and psychological literatures have demonstrated that early investments (private and public) in children can significantly increase cognitive outcomes in the short and long term and contribute to success later in life. One of the most important of these inputs is maternal time. Women’s participation in the labor market has risen rapidly in most countries, implying that mothers spend less time with their children and that families rely more on external sources of childcare. This trend has raised concerns, and an intense debate in several countries has focused on the effectiveness of childcare policies.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