Faces of Joblessness: Characterising Employment Barriers to Inform Policy

57 Pages Posted: 1 Jun 2016

See all articles by Rodrigo Fernandez

Rodrigo Fernandez

Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD)

Herwig Immervoll

Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) - Social Policy Division; World Bank, Europe and Central Asia; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; ISER Institute for Social and Economic Research; University of Canberra - National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM); United Nations - European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research

Daniele Pacifico

Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD)

Céline Thévenot

Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD)

Abstract

This paper proposes a novel method for identifying and visualising key employment obstacles that may prevent individuals from participating fully in the labour market. The approach is intended to complement existing sources of information that governments use when designing and implementing activation and employment-support policies. In particular, it aims to provide individual and household perspectives on employment problems, which may be missed when relying on common labour-force statistics or on administrative data, but which are relevant for targeting and tailoring support programmes and related policy interventions. A first step describes a series of employment-barrier indicators at the micro level, comprising three domains: work-related capabilities, financial incentives and employment opportunities. For each domain, a selected set of concrete employment barriers are quantified using the EU-SILC multi-purpose household survey. In a second step, a statistical clustering method (latent class analysis), is used to establish profiles and patterns of employment barriers among individuals with no or weak labour-market attachment. A detailed illustration for two countries (Estonia and Spain) shows that "short-hand" groupings that are often highlighted in the policy debate, such as "youth" or "older workers", are in fact composed of multiple distinct sub-groups that face very different combinations of employment barriers and likely require different policy approaches. Results also indicate that individuals typically face two or more simultaneous employment obstacles suggesting that addressing one barrier at a time may not have the intended effect on employment levels. From a policy perspective, the results support calls for carefully sequencing activation and employment support measures, and for coordinating them across policy domains and institutions.

Keywords: unemployment, employment barrier, activation, targeting, latent class, active labour market programmes

JEL Classification: C38, J08, H31, J21, J22, J68, J82

Suggested Citation

Fernandez, Rodrigo and Immervoll, Herwig and Immervoll, Herwig and Pacifico, Daniele and Thévenot, Céline, Faces of Joblessness: Characterising Employment Barriers to Inform Policy. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2786038 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2786038

Rodrigo Fernandez

Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) ( email )

2 rue Andre Pascal
Paris Cedex 16, 75775
France

Herwig Immervoll

World Bank, Europe and Central Asia ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) - Social Policy Division ( email )

2 rue Andre Pascal
Paris Cedex 16, 75775
France
(33 1) 45 24 92 14 (Phone)
(33 1) 44 30 61 78 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.oecd.org/els/social

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

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

HOME PAGE: http://www.iza.org/profile?key=1935

ISER Institute for Social and Economic Research ( email )

Wivenhoe Park
Colchester CO4 3SQ
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.iser.essex.ac.uk/people/research-associates

University of Canberra - National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM) ( email )

Canberra, ACT 2601
AUSTRALIA

HOME PAGE: http://www.canberra.edu.au/centres/natsem/people/associates/herwig-immervoll

United Nations - European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research ( email )

Berggasse 17
Vienna, A1010
Austria

HOME PAGE: http://www.euro.centre.org

Daniele Pacifico

Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) ( email )

2 rue Andre Pascal
Paris Cedex 16, 75775
France

Céline Thévenot (Contact Author)

Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) ( email )

2 rue Andre Pascal
Paris Cedex 16, 75775
France

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