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Active Labor Market Policy Evaluations: A Meta-Analysis

54 Pages Posted: 11 Mar 2009  

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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Date Written: March 1, 2009

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: H53, J08

Suggested Citation

Card, David and Kluve, Jochen and Weber, Andrea, Active Labor Market Policy Evaluations: A Meta-Analysis (March 1, 2009). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 2570; Ruhr Economic Paper No. 86. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1356534

David E. Card

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

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

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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

Room 3880
Berkeley, CA 94720-3880
United States
510-642-5222 (Phone)
510-643-7042 (Fax)

Jochen Kluve

Humboldt University of Berlin ( email )

Spandauer Str. 1
Berlin, D-10099
Germany

RWI ( email )

Essen
Germany

IZA

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

Andrea Michaela Weber (Contact Author)

Vienna University of Economics and Business ( email )

Welthandelsplatz 1
Vienna, 1020
Austria

Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO) ( email )

P.O. Box 91
Wien, A-1103
Austria

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

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

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

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