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Do public works programs work? Some unpleasant results from the East German experience

  • Kraus, Florian
  • Puhani, Patrick A.
  • Steiner, Viktor

We analyze the effectiveness of public works programs (PWP, Arbeitsbeschaffungsmaßnahmen) in east Germany as measured by their effects on individual future reemployment probabilities in regular jobs. These are estimated by discrete hazard rate models on the basis of individual?level panel data. We account for unobserved individual heterogeneity in both the PWP participation and in the outcome equations. In the latter, we differentiate between transitions into "stable" and "unstable" employment after the PWP. We find that these programs seem to have no special targeting focus on disadvantaged groups in the labor market and that participants are, on average, worse off concerning their re?employment prospects in regular jobs than unemployed people who do not join such a program. A possible explanation for this result is that PWP participants search less intensively for a regular job while on such a program than unemployed non-participants. Thus, our results cast serious doubts on both the effectiveness and the equity aspects of public works programs in east Germany.

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Paper provided by ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research in its series ZEW Discussion Papers with number 98-07.

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Date of creation: 1998
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:5180
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  1. Heckman, James J & Ichimura, Hidehiko & Todd, Petra E, 1997. "Matching as an Econometric Evaluation Estimator: Evidence from Evaluating a Job Training Programme," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(4), pages 605-54, October.
  2. James J. Heckman, 1989. "Choosing Among Alternative Nonexperimental Methods for Estimating the Impact of Social Programs: The Case of Manpower Training," NBER Working Papers 2861, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Cramer, J. S. & Ridder, G., 1991. "Pooling states in the multinomial logit model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2-3), pages 267-272, February.
  4. 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.
  5. Ridder, G, 1986. "An Event History Approach to the Evaluation of Training, Recruitment and Employment Programmes," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 1(2), pages 109-26, April.
  6. Kraus, Florian & Puhani, Patrick A. & Steiner, Viktor, 1997. "Employment Effects of Publicly Financed Training Programs The East German Experience," ZEW Discussion Papers 97-33, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  7. Ham, John C & LaLonde, Robert J, 1996. "The Effect of Sample Selection and Initial Conditions in Duration Models: Evidence from Experimental Data on Training," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(1), pages 175-205, January.
  8. Gritz, R. Mark, 1993. "The impact of training on the frequency and duration of employment," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 57(1-3), pages 21-51.
  9. Steiner, Viktor, 1997. "Extended benefit entitlement periods and the duration of unemployment in West Germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 97-14, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  10. Puhani, Patrick A. & Steiner, Viktor, 1996. "Public works for Poland? Active labour market policies during transition," ZEW Discussion Papers 96-01, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
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