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Active Labor Market Policy Evaluations: A Meta-analysis

  • David Card
  • Jochen Kluve
  • Andrea Weber

This paper presents a meta-analysis of recent microeconometric evaluations of active labor market policies. Our sample consists of 199 program estimates drawn from 97 studies conducted between 1995 and 2007. In about one-half of these cases we have both a short-term impact estimate (for a one-year post-program horizon) and a medium-term estimate (two-year horizon). We characterize the program estimates according to the type and duration of the program, the characteristics of the participants, and the evaluation methodology. Heterogeneity in all three dimensions affects the likelihood that an impact estimate is significantly positive, significantly negative, or statistically insignificant. Comparing program types, subsidized public sector employment programs have the least favorable impact estimates. Job search assistance programs have relatively favorable short-run impacts, whereas classroom and on-the-job training programs tend to show better outcomes in the medium-run than the short-run. Programs for youths are less likely to yield positive impacts than untargeted programs, but there are no large or systematic differences by gender. Methodologically, we find that the outcome variable used to measure program effectiveness matters. Evaluations based on registered unemployment durations are more likely to show favorable short-term impacts. Controlling for the outcome measure, and the type of program and participants, we find that experimental and non-experimental studies have similar fractions of significant negative and significant positive impact estimates, suggesting that the research designs used in recent non-experimental evaluations are unbiased.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2570.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2570
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  1. Wooldridge, Jeffrey M. & Imbens, Guido, 2009. "Recent Developments in the Econometrics of Program Evaluation," Scholarly Articles 3043416, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Orley Ashenfelter & David Card, 1984. "Using the Longitudinal Structure of Earnings to Estimate the Effect of Training Programs," Working Papers 554, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  3. Michael Lechner & Conny Wunsch, 2006. "Active Labour Market Policy in East Germany: Waiting for the Economy to Take Off," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2006 2006-24, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
  4. David H. Greenberg & Charles Michalopoulos & Philip K. Robins, 2003. "A Meta-Analysis of Government-Sponsored Training Programs," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 57(1), pages 31-53, October.
  5. Kluve, Jochen, 2010. "The effectiveness of European active labor market programs," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(6), pages 904-918, December.
  6. Card, David & Chetty, Raj & Weber, Andrea, 2007. "The Spike at Benefit Exhaustion: Leaving the Unemployment System or Starting a New Job?," IZA Discussion Papers 2590, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Ashenfelter, Orley C, 1978. "Estimating the Effect of Training Programs on Earnings," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 60(1), pages 47-57, February.
  8. Ashenfelter, Orley, 1987. "The case for evaluating training programs with randomized trials," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 6(4), pages 333-338, August.
  9. Jespersen, Svend T. & Munch, Jakob R. & Skipper, Lars, 2008. "Costs and benefits of Danish active labour market programmes," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(5), pages 859-884, October.
  10. Bergemann, Annette & van den Berg, Gerard, 2007. "Active labor market policy effects for women in Europe - a survey," Working Paper Series 2007:3, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  11. LaLonde, Robert J, 1986. "Evaluating the Econometric Evaluations of Training Programs with Experimental Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 604-20, September.
  12. James Heckman & Hidehiko Ichimura & Jeffrey Smith & Petra Todd, 1998. "Characterizing Selection Bias Using Experimental Data," NBER Working Papers 6699, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Gerfin, Michael & Lechner, Michael, 2000. "Microeconometric Evaluation of the Active Labour Market Policy in Switzerland," IZA Discussion Papers 154, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Heckman, James J. & Lalonde, Robert J. & Smith, Jeffrey A., 1999. "The economics and econometrics of active labor market programs," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 31, pages 1865-2097 Elsevier.
  15. Richardson, Katarina & van den Berg, Gerard J., 2002. "The effect of vocational employment training on the individual transition rate from unemployment to work," Working Paper Series 2002:8, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  16. 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.
  17. Biewen, Martin & Fitzenberger, Bernd & Osikominu, Aderonke & Waller, Marie, 2007. "Which Program for Whom? Evidence on the Comparative Effectiveness of Public Sponsored Training Programs in Germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 07-042, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  18. Barbara Sianesi, 2004. "An Evaluation of the Swedish System of Active Labor Market Programs in the 1990s," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 133-155, February.
  19. V. Joseph Hotz & Guido W. Imbens & Jacob A. Klerman, 2006. "Evaluating the Differential Effects of Alternative Welfare-to-Work Training Components: A Re-Analysis of the California GAIN Program," NBER Working Papers 11939, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  1. Meta-Analysis in Economics

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