Priority to Unemployed Immigrants? A Causal Machine Learning Evaluation of Training in Belgium

72 Pages Posted: 14 Jan 2020

See all articles by Joost Boolens

Joost Boolens

Vlaamse Dienst voor Arbeidsbemiddeling en Beroepsopleiding (VDAB)

Bart Cockx

Ghent University - Sherppa - Faculty of Economics and Business Administration; IRES, Université Catholique de Louvain; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Michael Lechner

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

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 2020

Abstract

We investigate heterogenous employment effects of Flemish training programmes. Based on administrative individual data, we analyse programme effects at various aggregation levels using Modified Causal Forests (MCF), a causal machine learning estimator for multiple programmes. While all programmes have positive effects after the lock-in period, we find substantial heterogeneity across programmes and types of unemployed. Simulations show that assigning unemployed to programmes that maximise individual gains as identified in our estimation can considerably improve effectiveness. Simplified rules, such as one giving priority to unemployed with low employability, mostly recent migrants, lead to about half of the gains obtained by more sophisticated rules.

Keywords: active labour market policy, Causal machine learning, conditional average treatment effects, modified causal forest, policy evaluation

JEL Classification: J68

Suggested Citation

Boolens, Joost and Cockx, Bart L. W. and Lechner, Michael, Priority to Unemployed Immigrants? A Causal Machine Learning Evaluation of Training in Belgium (January 2020). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP14270, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3518611

Joost Boolens (Contact Author)

Vlaamse Dienst voor Arbeidsbemiddeling en Beroepsopleiding (VDAB) ( email )

Brussels
Belgium

Bart L. W. Cockx

Ghent University - Sherppa - Faculty of Economics and Business Administration ( email )

Ghent, B-9000
Belgium

IRES, Université Catholique de Louvain

Place Montesquieu, 3
Louvain-la-Neuve
Belgium

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

Michael Lechner

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

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

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