Abstract

https://ssrn.com/abstract=2622220
 


 



Generating Employment in Poor and Fragile States: Evidence from Labor Market and Entrepreneurship Programs


Christopher Blattman


University of Chicago, Harris School of Public Policy; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Laura Ralston


World Bank

July 19, 2015


Abstract:     
The world's poor -- and programs to raise their incomes -- are increasingly concentrated in fragile states. We review the evidence on what interventions work, and whether stimulating employment promotes social stability. Skills training and microfinance have shown little impact on poverty or stability, especially relative to program cost. In contrast, injections of capital -- cash, capital goods, or livestock -- seem to stimulate self-employment and raise long term earning potential, often when partnered with low-cost complementary interventions. Such capital-centric programs, alongside cash-for-work, may be the most effective tools for putting people to work and boosting incomes in poor and fragile states. We argue that policymakers should shift the balance of programs in this direction. If targeted to the highest risk men, we should expect such programs to reduce crime and other materially-motivated violence modestly. Policymakers, however, should not expect dramatic effects of employment on crime and violence, in part because some forms of violence do not respond to incomes or employment. Finally, this review finds that more investigation is needed in several areas. First, are skills training and other interventions cost-effective complements to capital injections? Second, what non-employment strategies reduce crime and violence among the highest risk men, and are they complementary to employment programs? Third, policymakers can reduce the high failure rate of employment programs by using small-scale pilots before launching large programs; investing in labor market panel data; and investing in multi-country studies to test and fine tune the most promising interventions.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 52

Keywords: employment, active labor market programs, entrepreneurship, poverty, conflict, crime, fragile states, training, grants, workfare

JEL Classification: O12, J24, K42, D74, J46


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Date posted: June 27, 2015 ; Last revised: July 20, 2015

Suggested Citation

Blattman, Christopher and Ralston, Laura, Generating Employment in Poor and Fragile States: Evidence from Labor Market and Entrepreneurship Programs (July 19, 2015). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2622220 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2622220

Contact Information

Christopher Blattman (Contact Author)
University of Chicago, Harris School of Public Policy ( email )
1101 East 58th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )
1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Laura Ralston
World Bank ( email )
1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States
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