Do German Welfare-to-Work Programmes Reduce Welfare and Increase Work?

42 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2009

See all articles by Martin Huber

Martin Huber

University of Fribourg

Michael Lechner

University of St. Gallen - Swiss Institute for Empirical Economic Research

Conny Wunsch

University of Basel; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); University of St. Gallen

Thomas Walter

ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research

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Abstract

Many Western economies have reformed their welfare systems with the aim of activating welfare recipients by increasing welfare-to-work programmes and job search enforcement. We evaluate the three most important German welfare-to-work programmes implemented after a major reform in January 2005 ("Hartz IV"). Our analysis is based on a unique combination of large scale survey and administrative data that is unusually rich with respect to individual, household, agency level, and regional information. We use this richness to allow for a selection-on-observables approach when doing the econometric evaluation. We find that short-term training programmes on average increase their participants' employment perspectives and that all programmes induce further programme participation. We also show that there is considerable effect heterogeneity across different subgroups of participants that could be exploited to improve the allocation of welfare recipients to the specific programmes and thus increase overall programme effectiveness.

Keywords: welfare-to-work policies, propensity score matching, programme evaluation, panel data, targeting

JEL Classification: J68

Suggested Citation

Huber, Martin and Lechner, Michael and Wunsch, Conny and Walter, Thomas, Do German Welfare-to-Work Programmes Reduce Welfare and Increase Work?. IZA Discussion Paper No. 4090, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1369836

Martin Huber

University of Fribourg ( email )

Bd de Pérolles 90
Fribourg, Fribourg CH-1700
Switzerland

Michael Lechner (Contact Author)

University of St. Gallen - Swiss Institute for Empirical Economic Research ( email )

Varnbuelstrasse 14
St. Gallen, 9000
Switzerland
+41 71 224 2320 (Phone)

Conny Wunsch

University of Basel ( email )

Petersplatz 1
Basel, CH-4003
Switzerland

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

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

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

University of St. Gallen ( email )

Dufourstrasse 50
St. Gallen, 9000
Switzerland

Thomas Walter

ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research ( email )

P.O. Box 10 34 43
L 7,1
D-68034 Mannheim, 68034
Germany

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