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Does the Order and Timing of Active Labor Market Programs Matter?

  • Michael Lechner


  • Stephan Wiehler


This paper extends the traditional focus of active labor market policy evaluation from a static comparison of participation in a program versus nonparticipation (or participation in another program) to the evaluation of the effects of program sequences, i.e. multiple participation or timing of such programs. We use a dynamic evaluation framework that explicitly allows for dynamic selection into different stages of such sequences based on past intermediate outcomes to analyze multiple programs, the timing of programs, and the order of programs. The analysis is based on exceptionally comprehensive data on the Austrian labor force. Our findings suggest that (i) active job search programs are more effective after a qualification program compared to the reverse order, that (ii) multiple participations in qualification measures dominates single participation, and that (iii) the effectiveness of specific labor market programs deteriorates the later they start during an unemployment spell.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen in its series University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2007 with number 2007-38.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:usg:dp2007:2007-38
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  1. Michael Lechner & Conny Wunsch, 2007. "Active Labour Market Policy in East Germany: Waiting for the Economy to take off," Kiel Working Papers 1308, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.
  2. Lechner, Michael & Wunsch, Conny, 2007. "Are training programs more effective when unemployment is high?," IAB Discussion Paper 200707, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
  3. Michael Gerfin & Michael Lechner & Heidi Steiger, 2002. "Does subsidised temporary employment get the unemployed back to work? An econometric analysis of two different schemes," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2002 2002-22, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
  4. Fitzenberger, Bernd & Speckesser, Stefan, 2005. "Employment Effects of the Provision of Specific Professional Skills and Techniques in Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 1868, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Kluve, Jochen & Lehmann, Hartmut & Schmidt, Christoph M., 1999. "Active Labor Market Policies in Poland: Human Capital Enhancement, Stigmatization or Benefit Churning," IZA Discussion Papers 30, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. 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.
  7. Hujer, Reinhard & Caliendo, Marco & Thomsen, Stephan L., 2003. "New Evidence on the Effects of Job Creation Schemes in Germany - A Matching Approach with Threefold Heterogeneity," IZA Discussion Papers 750, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Barbara Sianesi, 2004. "An Evaluation of the Swedish System of Active Labor Market Programs in the 1990s," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 133-155, February.
  9. Miquel, Ruth & Lechner, Michael & Wunsch, Conny, 2005. "Long-Run Effects of Public Sector Sponsored Training in West Germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 05-02, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  10. Annette Bergemann & Gerard Van Den Berg, 2006. "Active labour market policy effects for women in Europe - a survey," IFS Working Papers W06/26, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  11. Hernan M. A & Brumback B. & Robins J. M, 2001. "Marginal Structural Models to Estimate the Joint Causal Effect of Nonrandomized Treatments," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 96, pages 440-448, June.
  12. Fitzenberger, Bernd & Volter, Robert, 2007. "Long-run effects of training programs for the unemployed in East Germany," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(4), pages 730-755, August.
  13. van Ours, Jan C., 2004. "The locking-in effect of subsidized jobs," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 37-55, March.
  14. Bernd FITZENBERGER & Aderonke OSIKOMINU & Robert VÖLTER, 2008. "Get Training or Wait? Long-Run Employment Effects of Training Programs for the Unemployed in West Germany," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 91-92, pages 321-355.
  15. Zweimuller, Josef & Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf, 1996. "Manpower Training Programmes and Employment Stability," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 63(249), pages 113-30, February.
  16. Michael Gerfin & Michael Lechner, 2002. "A Microeconometric Evaluation of the Active Labour Market Policy in Switzerland," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(482), pages 854-893, October.
  17. Carling, Kenneth & Richardson, Katarina, 2004. "The relative efficiency of labor market programs: Swedish experience from the 1990s," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(3), pages 335-354, June.
  18. Alfonso Flores-Lagunes & Arturo Gonzalez & Todd C. Neumann, 2007. "Estimating the Effects of Length of Exposure to a Training Program: The Case of Job Corps," Working Papers 1042, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  19. Lechner, Michael & Melly, Blaise, 2007. "Earnings Effects of Training Programs," IZA Discussion Papers 2926, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  20. Forslund, Anders & Johansson, Per & Lindqvist, Linus, 2004. "Employment subsidies - A fast lane from unemployment to work?," Working Paper Series 2004:18, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  21. Lechner, Michael, 2009. "Sequential Causal Models for the Evaluation of Labor Market Programs," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 27, pages 71-83.
  22. Michael Lechner & Stephan Wiehler, 2011. "Kids or courses? Gender differences in the effects of active labor market policies," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 24(3), pages 783-812, July.
  23. van Ours, J.C., 2004. "The locking-in effect of subsidized jobs," Other publications TiSEM c4fd99a1-4c2f-46c6-9ee2-3, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  24. Rafael Lalive & Jan C. van Ours & Josef Zweimueller, . "The Impact of Active Labor Market Programs on the Duration of Unemployment," IEW - Working Papers 041, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
  25. Lechner, Michael, 1999. "Identification and Estimation of Causal Effects of Multiple Treatments Under the Conditional Independence Assumption," IZA Discussion Papers 91, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  26. S. A. Murphy, 2003. "Optimal dynamic treatment regimes," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series B, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 65(2), pages 331-355.
  27. Heckman, James J. & Lalonde, Robert J. & Smith, Jeffrey A., 1999. "The economics and econometrics of active labor market programs," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 31, pages 1865-2097 Elsevier.
  28. Michael Lechner, 2006. "Matching Estimating of Dynamic Treatment Models: Some Practical Issues," University of St. Gallen Department of Economics working paper series 2006 2006-03, Department of Economics, University of St. Gallen.
  29. Weber, Andrea & Hofer, Helmut, 2004. "Are Job Search Programs a Promising Tool? A Microeconometric Evaluation for Austria," IZA Discussion Papers 1075, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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