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Youth Unemployment in Belgium: Diagnosis and Key Remedies

  • Cockx, Bart


    (Ghent University)

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.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Policy Papers with number 66.

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Length: 16 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2013
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Intereconomics, 2013, 48 (4), 202-209
Handle: RePEc:iza:izapps:pp66
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  1. Schwerdt, Guido & West, Martin R., 2013. "The Effects of Test-based Retention on Student Outcomes over Time: Regression Discontinuity Evidence from Florida," IZA Discussion Papers 7314, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. 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).
  3. 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.
  4. Cockx, Bart & Picchio, Matteo, 2011. "Scarring Effects of Remaining Unemployed for Long-Term Unemployed School-Leavers," IZA Discussion Papers 5937, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. S. Baert & B. Cockx, 2013. "Pure Ethnic Gaps in Educational Attainment and School to Work Transitions. When Do They Arise?," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 13/832, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
  6. David E. Card & Jochen Kluve & Andrea Weber, 2009. "Active Labor Market Policy Evaluations: A Meta-analysis," NRN working papers 2009-02, The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  7. B. Cockx & B. Van Der Linden, 2009. "Flexicurity in Belgium A Proposal Based on Economic Principles," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 09/584, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
  8. Baert, Stijn & Cockx, Bart & Gheyle, Niels & Vandamme, Cora, 2013. "Do Employers Discriminate Less If Vacancies Are Difficult to Fill? Evidence from a Field Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 7145, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. 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.
  10. Cockx, Bart & Picchio, Matteo, 2009. "Are Short-Lived Jobs Stepping Stones to Long-Lasting Jobs?," IZA Discussion Papers 4007, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. 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.
  12. 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 1864-86, December.
  13. 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.
  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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