IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this article or follow this journal

Explaining the Employability Gap of Short-Term and Long-Term Unemployed Persons

  • Stephan L. Thomsen

European countries provide a number of different active labor market policy programs to reduce the risk and the amount of long-term unemployment. Programs focus on particular sets of barriers to employment, such as lack of motivation (via sanctions), lack of job search skills (via job search assistance), lack of experience (via wage subsidies), or lack of marketable skills (via training programs). Numerous studies have been conducted to analyze the effectiveness of these activities. The results clarify that a number of programs are not very successful in reaching the intended goals. The major reason may be that the available programs do not (or do not fully) meet the needs of the unemployed. In this paper, differences in the employability between short-term and long-term unemployed persons are studied in order to reveal the crucial factors of job-finding chances. Analyzing the factors driving employment chances is a necessary step to shed light on the needs of job seekers and to derive recommendations for a (re-)arrangement of active labor market policy according to those needs. The empirical analysis is based on unique survey data of short-term and long-term unemployed persons merged with administrative data for Germany, including usually unavailable information. The results highlight three significant and important findings. First, differences in formal skills could only explain a small part of the employability gap between short-term and long-term unemployed persons. Hence, providing courses that aim at increasing skills of the individuals (at least in Germany) may reduce the employment gap, but the scope is limited. Second, differences in obstacles to employment - in particular care obligations - are relevant. If long-term unemployed persons were equal in characteristics to the short-term unemployed, the employability gap between both groups would clearly be narrower. Third, differences in the state of health, and in particular limitations in working ability, largely account for the employment gap. For this reason, policy makers should pay more attention to the last two findings when designing the placement process. The set of active labor market programs should be revised addressing these aspects in order to increase the employability of the participants. Copyright 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
File Function: link to full text
Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Kyklos.

Volume (Year): 62 (2009)
Issue (Month): 3 (08)
Pages: 448-478

in new window

Handle: RePEc:bla:kyklos:v:62:y:2009:i:3:p:448-478
Contact details of provider: Web page:

Order Information: Web:

No references listed on IDEAS
You can help add them by filling out this form.

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bla:kyklos:v:62:y:2009:i:3:p:448-478. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing)

or (Christopher F. Baum)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.