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

71 Pages Posted: 22 Jan 2020

See all articles by Bart Cockx

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

Joost Boolens

Vlaamse Dienst voor Arbeidsbemiddeling en Beroepsopleiding (VDAB)

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

JEL Classification: J68

Suggested Citation

Cockx, Bart L. W. and Lechner, Michael and Boolens, Joost, Priority to Unemployed Immigrants? A Causal Machine Learning Evaluation of Training in Belgium. IZA Discussion Paper No. 12875, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3521693

Bart L. W. Cockx (Contact Author)

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)

Joost Boolens

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

Brussels
Belgium

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