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

The effectiveness of European active labor market programs

  • Kluve, Jochen

Active Labor Market Programs are widely used in European countries, but despite many econometric evaluation studies analyzing particular programs no conclusive cross-country evidence exists regarding "what program works for what target group under what (economic and institutional) circumstances?". This paper aims at answering this question using a meta-analysis based on a data set that comprises 137 program evaluations from 19 countries. The empirical results of the meta-analysis are surprisingly clear-cut: Rather than contextual factors such as labor market institutions or the business cycle, it is almost exclusively the program type that seems to matter for program effectiveness. While direct employment programs in the public sector frequently appear detrimental, wage subsidies and "Services and Sanctions" can be effective in increasing participants' employment probability. Training programs - the most commonly used type of active policy - show modestly positive effects.

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:
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

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 Elsevier in its journal Labour Economics.

Volume (Year): 17 (2010)
Issue (Month): 6 (December)
Pages: 904-918

in new window

Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:17:y:2010:i:6:p:904-918
Contact details of provider: Web page:

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Richard Blundell & Monica Costa Dias, 2000. "Evaluation methods for non-experimental data," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 21(4), pages 427-468, January.
  2. Weber, Andrea & Hofer, Helmut, 2003. "Active Job-search Programs a Promising Tool? A Microeconometric Evaluation for Austria," Economics Series 131, Institute for Advanced Studies.
  3. Denis Fougère & Jacqueline Pradel & Muriel Roger, 2005. "Does Job-Search Assistance Affect Search Effort and Outcomes ? A Microeconometric Analysis of Public Versus Private Search Methods," Working Papers 2005-33, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  4. Forslund, Anders & Johansson, Per & Lindqvist, Linus, 2004. "Employment subsidies - A fast lane from unemployment to work?," Working Paper Series 2004:18, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  5. Michael Lechner & Ruth Miquel & Conny Wunsch, 2005. "The Curse and Blessing of Training the Unemployed in a Changing Economy: The Case of East Germany after Unification," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2005 2005-15, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
  6. Rafael Lalive & Jan C. van Ours & Josef Zweimüller, 2005. "The Effect Of Benefit Sanctions On The Duration Of Unemployment," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(6), pages 1386-1417, December.
  7. Ashenfelter, O. & Harmon, C. & Oosterbeek, H., 1999. "A Review of Estimates of the Schooling/ Earnings Relationship, with tests for Publication Bias," Papers 99/20, College Dublin, Department of Political Economy-.
  8. Zweimuller, Josef & Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf, 1996. "Manpower Training Programmes and Employment Stability," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 63(249), pages 113-30, February.
  9. Richard Blundell & Monica Costa Dias & Costas Meghir & John Van Reenen, 2004. "Evaluating the Employment Impact of a Mandatory Job Search Program," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(4), pages 569-606, 06.
  10. Fitzenberger, Bernd & Speckesser, Stefan, 2005. "Employment Effects of the Provision of Specific Professional Skills and Techniques in Germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 05-77, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  11. Jochen Kluve & Hartmut Lehmann & Christopher Schmidt, 1998. "Active Labor Market Policies in Poland: Human Capital Enhancement, Stigmatization or Benefit Churning?," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 215, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  12. Albrecht, James & van den Berg, Gerard J & Vroman, Susan, 2004. "The knowledge lift: The Swedish adult education program that aimed to eliminate low worker skill levels," Working Paper Series 2004:17, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  13. van den Berg, Gerard J & van der Klaauw, Bas & van Ours, Jan C, 2000. "Punitive Sanctions and the Transition Rate From Welfare to Work," CEPR Discussion Papers 2447, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Bruno Crépon & Muriel Dejemeppe & Marc Gurgand, 2005. "Counseling the unemployed: does it lower unemployment duration and recurrence?," PSE Working Papers halshs-00590769, HAL.
  15. de Koning, Jaap, 1993. "Measuring the Placement Effects of Two Wage-Subsidy Schemes for the Long-Term Unemployed," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 447-68.
  16. Fredriksson, Peter & Johansson, Per, 2003. "Employment, Mobility, and Active Labor Market Programs," Working Paper Series 2003:5, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  17. Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf, 2001. "Evaluating An Innovative Redundancy-Retraining Project: The Austrian Steel Foundation," CEPR Discussion Papers 2776, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  18. Aakvik, Arild & Dahl, Svenn-Åge, 2004. "Transitions to Employment from Labour Market Enterprises in Norway," Working Papers in Economics 07/04, University of Bergen, Department of Economics.
  19. David H. Greenberg & Charles Michalopoulos & Philip K. Robins, 2003. "A meta-analysis of government-sponsored training programs," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 57(1), pages 31-53, October.
  20. van den Berg, Gerard J. & van der Klaauw, Bas, 2001. "Counseling and Monitoring of Unemployed Workers: Theory and Evidence from a Controlled Social Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 374, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  21. Jochen Kluve & Christoph M. Schmidt, 2002. "Can training and employment subsidies combat European unemployment?," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 17(35), pages 409-448, October.
  22. Bonnal, Liliane & Fougere, Denis & Serandon, Anne, 1997. "Evaluating the Impact of French Employment Policies on Individual Labour Market Histories," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(4), pages 683-713, October.
  23. Main, Brian G M, 1985. "School-leaver Unemployment and the Youth Opportunities Programme in Scotland," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 37(3), pages 426-47, September.
  24. Lechner, Michael & Wunsch, Conny, 2006. "Are Training Programs More Effective When Unemployment Is High?," IZA Discussion Papers 2355, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  25. F. Alfonso Arellano, 2005. "Do Training Programmes Get The Unemployedback To Work?: A Look At The Spanish Experience," Economics Working Papers we052515, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía.
  26. Bolvig, Iben & Jensen, Peter & Rosholm, Michael, 2003. "The Employment Effects of Active Social Policy," IZA Discussion Papers 736, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  27. Main, Brian G M & Raffe, David, 1983. "Determinants of Employment and Unemployment among School Leavers: Evidence from the 1979 Survey of Scottish School Leavers," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 30(1), pages 1-17, February.
  28. Micklewright, John & Nagy, Gyula, 2005. "Job Search Monitoring and Unemployment Duration in Hungary: Evidence from a Randomised Control Trial," IZA Discussion Papers 1839, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  29. Sianesi, Barbara, 2001. "An evaluation of the active labour market programmes in Sweden," Working Paper Series 2001:5, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  30. Arild Aakvik, 2003. "Estimating the employment effects of education for disabled workers in Norway," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 28(3), pages 515-533, July.
  31. Michael Lechner, 2000. "An Evaluation of Public-Sector-Sponsored Continuous Vocational Training Programs in East Germany," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(2), pages 347-375.
  32. Cavaco, Sandra & Fougère, Denis & Pouget, Julien, 2005. "Estimating the Effect of a Retraining Program for Displaced Workers on Their Transition to Permanent Jobs," IZA Discussion Papers 1513, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  33. Martin, John P. & Grubb, David, 2001. "What works and for whom: a review of OECD countries' experiences with active labour market policies," Working Paper Series 2001:14, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  34. Cockx, Bart, 2003. "Vocational Training of Unemployed Workers in Belgium," IZA Discussion Papers 682, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  35. Jensen, Peter & Rosholm, Michael & Svarer, Michael, 2003. "The response of youth unemployment to benefits, incentives, and sanctions," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 301-316, June.
  36. Zhang, Tao, 2003. "Identifying treatment effects of active labour market programmes for Norwegian adults," Memorandum 26/2003, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
  37. Cees Gorter & Guyonne R. J. Kalb, 1996. "Estimating the Effect of Counseling and Monitoring the Unemployed Using a Job Search Model," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(3), pages 590-610.
  38. J de Koning & M Koss & A Verkaik, 1991. "A quasi-experimental evaluation of the Vocational Training Centre for Adults," Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 9(2), pages 143-153, April.
  39. Ridder, G, 1986. "An Event History Approach to the Evaluation of Training, Recruitment and Employment Programmes," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 1(2), pages 109-26, April.
  40. Floro Ernesto Caroleo & Francesco Pastore, 2001. "How fine targeted is ALMP to the youth long term unemployed in Italy?," CELPE Discussion Papers 62, CELPE - Centre of Labour Economics and Economic Policy, University of Salerno, Italy.
  41. Card, David & Krueger, Alan B, 1995. "Time-Series Minimum-Wage Studies: A Meta-analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(2), pages 238-43, May.
  42. Keith Whitfield & Constantine Bourlakis, 1991. "An Empirical Analysis of YTS, Employment and Earnings," Journal of Economic Studies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 18(1), pages 42-56, January.
  43. van Ours, J.C., 2001. "Do active labor market policies help unemployed workers to find and keep regular jobs?," Other publications TiSEM c2c23050-5ecb-40fe-918e-3, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  44. Dolton, Peter & O'Neill, Donal, 1996. "Unemployment Duration and the Restart Effect: Some Experimental Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(435), pages 387-400, March.
  45. Green, Francis & Hoskins, Martin & Montgomery, Scott, 1996. "The Effects of Company Training, Further Education and the Youth Training Scheme on the Earnings of Young Employees," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 58(3), pages 469-88, August.
  46. Jaap H. Abbring & Gerard J. Berg & Jan C. Ours, 2005. "The Effect of Unemployment Insurance Sanctions on the Transition Rate from Unemployment to Employment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(505), pages 602-630, 07.
  47. Kari Hämäläinen & Virve Ollikainen, 2004. "Differential Effects of Active Labour Market Programmes in the Early Stages of Young People's Unemployment," Research Reports 115, Government Institute for Economic Research Finland (VATT).
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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:eee:labeco:v:17:y:2010:i:6:p:904-918. 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: (Zhang, Lei)

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.