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Youth Unemployment in Belgium: Diagnosis and Key Remedies

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  • Cockx, Bart

    () (Ghent University)

Abstract

In Belgium youth unemployment is structurally higher than the European (EU27) average, in particular for the low educated. In this study we set a diagnosis of the main structural factors and advance key remedies. We analyze the system of employment protection, education and passive and active labor market policies. A high minimum wage, a strict separation between school and work, and a vertically segmented schooling system with high retention rates and too early tracking are identified as main causal factors. Strict employment protection legislation is only concern for high-skilled youth. Reducing labor costs at low wages and a fundamental schooling reform that aims at dismantling the strict barrier between school and work are proposed as key remedies. In addition, youth should be entitled as of the start of unemployment to a low benefit based on the principle of “mutual obligation”. Very intensive and durable guidance is to be targeted to the low educated.

Suggested Citation

  • Cockx, Bart, 2013. "Youth Unemployment in Belgium: Diagnosis and Key Remedies," IZA Policy Papers 66, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izapps:pp66
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Baert, Stijn & Cockx, Bart, 2013. "Pure ethnic gaps in educational attainment and school to work transitions: When do they arise?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 276-294.
    2. Bart Cockx & Matteo Picchio, 2013. "Scarring effects of remaining unemployed for long-term unemployed school-leavers," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 176(4), pages 951-980, October.
    3. David Card & Jochen Kluve & Andrea Weber, 2010. "Active Labour Market Policy Evaluations: A Meta-Analysis," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(548), pages 452-477, November.
    4. Bart Cockx & Matteo Picchio, 2012. "Are Short-lived Jobs Stepping Stones to Long-Lasting Jobs?," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 74(5), pages 646-675, October.
    5. Piopiunik, Marc, 2014. "The effects of early tracking on student performance: Evidence from a school reform in Bavaria," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 12-33.
    6. Schwerdt, Guido & West, Martin R. & Winters, Marcus A., 2017. "The effects of test-based retention on student outcomes over time: Regression discontinuity evidence from Florida," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 152(C), pages 154-169.
    7. François Rycx & Stephan Kampelmann, 2013. "Who Earns Minimum Wages in Europe? New Evidence Based on Household Surveys," DULBEA Working Papers 13-01, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    8. Bart COCKX & Bruno VAN DER LINDEN, 2009. "Flexicurity in Belgium. A Proposal Based on Economic Principles," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2009024, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    9. S. Baert & B. Cockx & N. Gheyle & C. Vandamme, 2013. "Do Employers Discriminate Less if Vacancies Are Difficult to Fill? Evidence From a Field Experiment," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 13/830, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    10. Kramarz, Francis & Philippon, Thomas, 2001. "The impact of differential payroll tax subsidies on minimum wage employment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 115-146, October.
    11. Cockx, Bart & Dejemeppe, Muriel, 2012. "Monitoring job search effort: An evaluation based on a regression discontinuity design," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(5), pages 729-737.
    12. Zimmermann, Klaus F. & Biavaschi, Costanza & Eichhorst, Werner & Giulietti, Corrado & Kendzia, Michael J. & Muravyev, Alexander & Pieters, Janneke & Rodríguez-Planas, Núria & Schmidl, Ricarda, 2013. "Youth Unemployment and Vocational Training," Foundations and Trends(R) in Microeconomics, now publishers, vol. 9(1–2), pages 1-157, December.
      • Biavaschi, Costanza & Eichhorst, Werner & Giulietti, Corrado & Kendzia, Michael J. & Muravyev, Alexander & Pieters, Janneke & Rodríguez-Planas, Núria & Schmidl, Ricarda & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2012. "Youth Unemployment and Vocational Training," IZA Discussion Papers 6890, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. Peter Z. Schochet & John Burghardt & Sheena McConnell, 2008. "Does Job Corps Work? Impact Findings from the National Job Corps Study," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 1864-1886, December.
    14. Bruno Van der Linden, 2007. "Un regard sur le rapport de l'OCDE : Des emplois pour les jeunes," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 56, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
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    Cited by:

    1. Cockx, Bart & Ghirelli, Corinna, 2016. "Scars of recessions in a rigid labor market," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 162-176.
    2. Marie Duvivier & Maritza López-Novella, 2015. "Working Paper 10-15 - The relationship between unemployment duration and education - The case of school leavers in Belgium," Working Papers 1510, Federal Planning Bureau, Belgium.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    youth unemployment; employment protection; education; active and passive labor market policies; Belgium;

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy
    • J68 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Public Policy

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