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Can Active Labour Market Policy Work? Some Theoretical Considerations

  • J Richardson
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    Persistent high unemployment in Europe has led to renewed interest in Active Labour Market Policy. However, most existing theory suggests that its effects are ambiguous at best. We argue that job search assistance and wage subsidies are more appropriately modelled as a transition rather than the state-based approach of existing theory. This eliminates the ambiguity. We present two main models, one in which negative duration dependence in unemployment arises from state dependence, the other where it is due to heterogeneity. In both cases policy is unambiguously effective provided it is targeted on those who are, or are most likely to become, long-term unemployed. Some crude estimates suggest that Active Labour Market Policies could have a significant, though not spectacular, effect in reducing unemployment.

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    File URL: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/pubs/download/DP0331.pdf
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    Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp0331.

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    Date of creation: Feb 1997
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    Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0331
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

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    1. Warr, Peter & Jackson, Paul, 1987. "Adapting to the unemployed role: A longitudinal investigation," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 25(11), pages 1219-1224, January.
    2. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
    3. Bishop, John & Haveman, Robert, 1979. "Selective Employment Subsidies: Can Okun's Law be Repealed?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 69(2), pages 124-30, May.
    4. Manning, Alan, 1993. "Wage Bargaining and the Phillips Curve: The Identification and Specification of Aggregate Wage Equations," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(416), pages 98-118, January.
    5. Layard, P R G & Nickell, S J, 1980. "The Case for Subsidising Extra Jobs," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 90(357), pages 51-73, March.
    6. Korpi, Tomas, 1995. "Effects of Manpower Policies on Duration Dependence in Re-employment Rates: The Example of Sweden," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 62(247), pages 353-71, August.
    7. Layard, Richard & Nickell, Stephen & Jackman, Richard, 1991. "Unemployment: Macroeconomic Performance and the Labour Market," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198284345, March.
    8. Calmfors, Lars & Forslund, Anders, 1991. "Real-Wage Determination and Labour Market Policies: The Swedish Experience," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 101(408), pages 1130-48, September.
    9. Holmlund, B. & Linden, J., 1991. "Job Matching, Temporary Public Employment, and Equilibrium Unemployment," Papers 1991l, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
    10. Calmfors, Lars & Lang, Harald, 1995. "Macroeconomic Effects of Active Labour Market Programmes in a Union Wage-Setting Model," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(430), pages 601-19, May.
    11. Nickell, Stephen J, 1987. "Why Is Wage Inflation in Britain So High?," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 49(1), pages 103-28, February.
    12. Outi Aarnio, 1993. "Temporary active labour market programmes - potential effects on unemployment," Finnish Economic Papers, Finnish Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 13-24, Spring.
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