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Did Latvia's Public Works Program Mitigate the Impact of the 2008-2010 Crisis?

Author

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  • Azam, Mehtabul

    () (Oklahoma State University)

  • Ferré, Céline

    () (World Bank)

  • Ajwad, Mohamed Ihsan

    () (World Bank)

Abstract

To mitigate the impact of the 2008-2010 global financial crisis on vulnerable households, the Government of Latvia established Workplaces with Stipends, an emergency public works program that targeted registered unemployed people who were not receiving unemployment benefits. This paper evaluates the targeting performance and welfare impacts of the program. We exploit the over-subscription of Workplaces with Stipends to define a control group. The paper finds that the program was successful at targeting poor and vulnerable people, and that leakage to non-poor households was small. Using propensity score matching, the paper finds that the program's stipend mitigated the impact of job loss and, in the short term, raised participating household incomes by 37 percent relative to similar households not benefiting from the program. The paper also finds that the foregone income for this program was less than foregone incomes estimated in other countries. This suggests a dearth of income-generating opportunities in Latvia; thus the program provided temporary employment opportunities and helped the unemployed mitigate the impact of the crisis. However, relative to the depth of the crisis in Latvia, the Workplaces with Stipends program scale was small, which meant long waiting periods for program applicants.

Suggested Citation

  • Azam, Mehtabul & Ferré, Céline & Ajwad, Mohamed Ihsan, 2012. "Did Latvia's Public Works Program Mitigate the Impact of the 2008-2010 Crisis?," IZA Discussion Papers 6772, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6772
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Datt, Gaurav & Ravallion, Martin, 1994. "Transfer Benefits from Public-Works Employment: Evidence for Rural India," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(427), pages 1346-1369, November.
    2. Peter R. Mueser & Kenneth R. Troske & Alexey Gorislavsky, 2007. "Using State Administrative Data to Measure Program Performance," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(4), pages 761-783, November.
    3. Ajwad, Mohamed Ihsan & Haimovich, Francisco & Azam, Mehtabul, 2012. "Simulating the impact of the 2009 financial crisis on welfare in Latvia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5960, The World Bank.
    4. Carlo del Ninno & Kalanidhi Subbarao & Annamaria Milazzo, 2009. "How to Make Public Works Work : A Review of the Experiences," World Bank Other Operational Studies 11718, The World Bank.
    5. Edwin Leuven & Barbara Sianesi, 2003. "PSMATCH2: Stata module to perform full Mahalanobis and propensity score matching, common support graphing, and covariate imbalance testing," Statistical Software Components S432001, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 01 Feb 2018.
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    Cited by:

    1. Khembo, Felix & Chapman, Sarah, 2017. "A formative evaluation of the recovery public works programme in Blantyre City, Malawi," Evaluation and Program Planning, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 8-21.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Latvia; public works; safety net; crisis;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • 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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