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Youth Unemployment in Belgium: Diagnosis and Key Remedies

Author

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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 of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izapps:pp66
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    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. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Bart COCKX & Bruno VAN DER LINDEN, 2009. "Flexicurity in Belgium. A Proposal Based on Economic Principles," LIDAM Discussion Papers IRES 2009024, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. 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 of Labor Economics (IZA).
    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.
    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," Regards économiques 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.
    3. Bruno Van der Linden & Vincent Bodart & Muriel Dejemeppe, 2018. "The labor market in Belgium, 2000–2016," IZA World of Labor, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), pages 428-428, March.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    youth unemployment; employment protection; education; active and passive labor market policies; Belgium;
    All these keywords.

    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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