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Do German Welfare-to-Work Programmes Reduce Welfare and Increase Work?

  • Huber, Martin
  • Lechner, Michael
  • Walter, Thomas
  • Wunsch, Conny

Many Western economies have reformed their welfare systems with the aim of activating welfare recipients by increasing welfare-to-work programmes and job search enforcement. We evaluate the three most important German welfare-to-work programmes implemented after a major reform in January 2005 ("Hartz IV"). Our analysis is based on a unique combination of large scale survey and administrative data that is unusually rich with respect to individual, household, agency level, and regional information. We use this richness to allow for a selection-on-observables approach when doing the econometric evaluation. We find that short-term training programmes on average increase their participants' employment perspectives and that all programmes induce further programme participation. We also show that there is considerable effect heterogeneity across different subgroups of participants that could be exploited to improve the allocation of welfare recipients to the specific programmes and thus increase overall programme effectiveness.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7238.

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Date of creation: Mar 2009
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7238
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  1. Jan C. van Ours, 2002. "The Locking-in Effect of Subsidized Jobs," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 474, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  2. Lechner, Michael & Wunsch, Conny, 2006. "Are Training Programs More Effective When Unemployment Is High?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5920, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Lechner, Michael & Miquel, Ruth & Wunsch, Conny, 2005. "The curse and blessing of training the unemployed in a changing economy : the case of East Germany after unification," IAB Discussion Paper 200514, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
  4. 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.
  5. Hohmeyer, Katrin & Wolff, Joachim, 2007. "A fistful of Euros: Does One-Euro-Job participation lead means-tested benefit recipients into regular jobs and out of unemployment benefit II receipt?," IAB Discussion Paper 200732, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
  6. Joffe, Marshall M. & Ten Have, Thomas R. & Feldman, Harold I. & Kimmel, Stephen E., 2004. "Model Selection, Confounder Control, and Marginal Structural Models: Review and New Applications," The American Statistician, American Statistical Association, vol. 58, pages 272-279, November.
  7. Wunsch, Conny & Lechner, Michael, 2007. "What Did All the Money Do? On the General Ineffectiveness of Recent West German Labour Market Programmes," IZA Discussion Papers 2800, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Caliendo, Marco & Hujer, Reinhard & Thomsen, Stephan L., 2005. "Identifying effect heterogeneity to improve the efficiency of job creation schemes in Germany," IAB Discussion Paper 200508, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
  9. Rebecca M. Blank, 2002. "Evaluating Welfare Reform in the United States," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1105-1166, December.
  10. Lechner, Michael, 2009. "Sequential Causal Models for the Evaluation of Labor Market Programs," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 27, pages 71-83.
  11. Guido W. Imbens, 2003. "Nonparametric Estimation of Average Treatment Effects under Exogeneity: A Review," NBER Technical Working Papers 0294, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  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. David Card & Daniel Sullivan, 1987. "Measuring the Effect of Subsidized Training Programs on Movements In andOut of Employment," NBER Working Papers 2173, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Lechner, Michael & Smith, Jeffrey, 2003. "What is the Value Added by Caseworkers?," CEPR Discussion Papers 3825, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Wolff, Joachim & Nivorozhkin, Anton, 2008. "Start me up: The effectiveness of a self-employment programme for needy unemployed people in Germany," IAB Discussion Paper 200820, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
  16. Jeffrey Grogger, 2003. "The Effects of Time Limits, the EITC, and Other Policy Changes on Welfare Use, Work, and Income among Female-Headed Families," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(2), pages 394-408, May.
  17. Lechner, Michael, 1995. "Effects of continuous off-the-job training in East Germany after unification," ZEW Discussion Papers 95-27, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  18. Alberto Abadie & Guido W. Imbens, 2006. "Large Sample Properties of Matching Estimators for Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(1), pages 235-267, 01.
  19. Moffitt, Robert A., 2002. "Welfare programs and labor supply," Handbook of Public Economics, in: A. J. Auerbach & M. Feldstein (ed.), Handbook of Public Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 34, pages 2393-2430 Elsevier.
  20. Schneider, Julia, 2008. "The effect of unemployment benefit II sanctions on reservation wages," IAB Discussion Paper 200819, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
  21. Lechner, Michael, 1999. "Earnings and Employment Effects of Continuous Off-the-Job Training in East Germany after Unification," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 17(1), pages 74-90, January.
  22. 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).
  23. Jacobi, Lena & Kluve, Jochen, 2007. "Before and after the Hartz reforms: The performance of active labour market policy in Germany," Zeitschrift für ArbeitsmarktForschung - Journal for Labour Market Research, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany], vol. 40(1), pages 45-64.
  24. 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.
  25. Bernhard, Sarah & Hohmeyer, Katrin & Jozwiak, Eva & Koch, Susanne & Kruppe, Thomas & Stephan, Gesine & Wolff, Joachim, 2008. "Aktive Arbeitsmarktpolitik in Deutschland und ihre Wirkungen," IAB-Forschungsbericht 200802, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
  26. Wolff, Joachim & Jozwiak, Eva, 2007. "Does short-term training activate means-tested unemployment benefit recipients in Germany?," IAB Discussion Paper 200729, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
  27. Rajeev H. Dehejia & Sadek Wahba, 2002. "Propensity Score-Matching Methods For Nonexperimental Causal Studies," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(1), pages 151-161, February.
  28. Michael Lechner, 2000. "Programme Heterogeneity and Propensity Score Matching: An Application to the Evaluation of Active Labour Market Policies," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0647, Econometric Society.
  29. Michael Lechner, 2002. "Program Heterogeneity And Propensity Score Matching: An Application To The Evaluation Of Active Labor Market Policies," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(2), pages 205-220, May.
  30. repec:iab:iabzaf:v:40:i:1:p:45-64 is not listed on IDEAS
  31. Konle-Seidl, Regina & Eichhorst, Werner & Grienberger-Zingerle, Maria, 2007. "Activation policies in Germany : from status protection to basic income support," IAB Discussion Paper 200706, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
  32. Lechner, Michael, 1999. "Identification and Estimation of Causal Effects of Multiple Treatments Under the Conditional Independence Assumption," IZA Discussion Papers 91, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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