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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. Caliendo, Marco & Hujer, Reinhard & Thomsen, Stephan L., 2005. "Identifying Effect Heterogeneity to Improve the Effiency of Job Creation Schemes in Germany?," ZEW Discussion Papers 05-21, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
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  5. 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).
  6. Rajeev H. Dehejia & Sadek Wahba, 1998. "Propensity Score Matching Methods for Non-experimental Causal Studies," NBER Working Papers 6829, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. 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).
  8. Michael Gerfin & Michael Lechner, 2002. "A Microeconometric Evaluation of the Active Labour Market Policy in Switzerland," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(482), pages 854-893, October.
  9. 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.
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  11. van Ours, J.C., 2004. "The locking-in effect of subsidized jobs," Other publications TiSEM c4fd99a1-4c2f-46c6-9ee2-3, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  12. 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.
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  14. 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.
  15. Michael Lechner & Jeffrey Smith, 2003. "What is the Value Added by Caseworkers?," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2003 2003-05, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
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  17. 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].
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
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  21. 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].
  22. 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.
  23. Eichhorst, Werner & Grienberger-Zingerle, Maria & Konle-Seidl, Regina, 2006. "Activation Policies in Germany: From Status Protection to Basic Income Support," IZA Discussion Papers 2514, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  25. 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.
  26. 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.
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  29. 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].
  30. 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].
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
  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. 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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