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What works and for whom: a review of OECD countries' experiences with active labour market policies

Author

Listed:
  • Martin, John P.

    () (IFAU - Office of Labour Market Policy Evaluation)

  • Grubb, David

    () (IFAU - Office of Labour Market Policy Evaluation)

Abstract

Although rather discouraging in general, the evaluation literature indicates some measures that have been successful. Job-search assistance, wage subsidies in the private sector, and labour market training do work for some groups, even if the impacts are not large. Also, the evaluation literature focuses on the impacts of one-off programs. Regular interventions, such as job-search monitoring, intensive interviews, and referrals to vacant jobs, have rarely been evaluated rigorously. Recently, introduced "activation" strategies in some OECD countries do appear to yield significant employment gains for participants. An important element in such strategies is experiments with alternative ways of improving the performance of the public employment service. Activation policies which combine high-quality assistance to find work with pressure on unemployed people to accept job offers can be effective with respect to unemployment duration, but more rapid returns to work sometimes comes at the cost of accepting lower re-employment earnings. Although active policies might give rise to displacement effects in the short run, this need not be case the over the medium run of a few years. Declines in structural employment rates achieved by many OECD countries in the 1990s give some reasons for optimism in this respect.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:ifauwp:2001_014
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Anders Forslund & Alan B. Krueger, 1997. "An Evaluation of the Swedish Active Labor Market Policy: New and Received Wisdom," NBER Chapters,in: The Welfare State in Transition: Reforming the Swedish Model, pages 267-298 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Barrett, Alan & Whelan, Christopher T. & Sexton, J. J., 2001. ""Employability" and its Relevance for the Management of the Live Register," Research Series, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number PRS40.
    3. Peter Dolton & Donal O'Neill, 2002. "The Long-Run Effects of Unemployment Monitoring and Work-Search Programs: Experimental Evidence from the United Kingdom," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(2), pages 381-403, Part.
    4. Dan A. Black & Jeffrey A. Smith & Mark C. Berger & Brett J. Noel, 1999. "Is the Threat of Training More Effective Than Training Itself? Experimental Evidence from the UI System," UWO Department of Economics Working Papers 9913, University of Western Ontario, Department of Economics.
    5. Arulampalam, W. & Robin A. Naylor & Jeremy P. Smith, 2002. "University of Warwick," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2002 9, Royal Economic Society.
    6. Abbring, Jaap H. & Berg, Gerard J. van den & Ours, Jan C. van, 1996. "The effect of unemployment insurance sanctions on the transition rate from unemployment to employment," Serie Research Memoranda 0038, VU University Amsterdam, Faculty of Economics, Business Administration and Econometrics.
    7. 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.
    8. Daniel Friedlander & David H. Greenberg & Philip K. Robins, 1997. "Evaluating Government Training Programs for the Economically Disadvantaged," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(4), pages 1809-1855, December.
    9. Carling, Kenneth & Richardson, Katarina, 2001. "The relative efficiency of labor market programs: Swedish experience from the 1990's," Working Paper Series 2001:2, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
    10. Peter Dolton; & Donal O'Neill, 1997. "The Long-Run Effects of Unemployment Monitoring and Work-Search Programs: Some Experimental Evidence from the U.K," Economics, Finance and Accounting Department Working Paper Series n710897, Department of Economics, Finance and Accounting, National University of Ireland - Maynooth.
    11. Robert G. Fay, 1996. "Enhancing the Effectiveness of Active Labour Market Policies: Evidence from Programme Evaluations in OECD Countries," OECD Labour Market and Social Policy Occasional Papers 18, OECD Publishing.
    12. Robert G. Fay, 1997. "Making the Public Employment Service More Effective through the Introduction of Market Signals," OECD Labour Market and Social Policy Occasional Papers 25, OECD Publishing.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    job search; wage subsidies; labour market training;

    JEL classification:

    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • J68 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Public Policy

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