Active Labor Market Policy Evaluations: A Meta-Analysis

51 Pages Posted: 2 Mar 2009

See all articles by David Card

David Card

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Jochen Kluve

Humboldt University of Berlin; RWI; IZA

Andrea Weber

Vienna University of Economics and Business; Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO); Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

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Abstract

This paper presents a meta-analysis of recent microeconometric evaluations of active labor market policies. Our sample consists of 199 program estimates drawn from 97 studies conducted between 1995 and 2007. In about one-half of these cases we have both a short-term impact estimate (for a one-year post-program horizon) and a medium-term estimate (two-year horizon). We characterize the program estimates according to the type and duration of the program, the characteristics of the participants, and the evaluation methodology. Heterogeneity in all three dimensions affects the likelihood that an impact estimate is significantly positive, significantly negative, or statistically insignificant. Comparing program types, subsidized public sector employment programs have the least favorable impact estimates. Job search assistance programs have relatively favorable short-run impacts, whereas classroom and on-the-job training programs tend to show better outcomes in the medium-run than the short-run. Programs for youths are less likely to yield positive impacts than untargeted programs, but there are no large or systematic differences by gender. Methodologically, we find that the outcome variable used to measure program effectiveness matters. Evaluations based on registered unemployment durations are more likely to show favorable short-term impacts. Controlling for the outcome measure, and the type of program and participants, we find that experimental and non-experimental studies have similar fractions of significant negative and significant positive impact estimates, suggesting that the research designs used in recent non-experimental evaluations are unbiased.

Keywords: active labor market policy, program evaluation, meta-analysis

JEL Classification: J00, J68

Suggested Citation

Card, David E. and Kluve, Jochen and Weber, Andrea Michaela, Active Labor Market Policy Evaluations: A Meta-Analysis. IZA Discussion Paper No. 4002. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1351166

David E. Card (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics ( email )

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Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Jochen Kluve

Humboldt University of Berlin ( email )

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RWI ( email )

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IZA

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Andrea Michaela Weber

Vienna University of Economics and Business ( email )

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Austria

Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO) ( email )

P.O. Box 91
Wien, A-1103
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Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

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Munich, DE-81679
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