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

81 Pages Posted: 20 May 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)

Date Written: 2020

Abstract

Based on administrative data of unemployed in Belgium, we estimate the labour market effects of three training programmes at various aggregation levels using Modified Causal Forests, a causal machine learning estimator. While all programmes have positive effects after the lock-in period, we find substantial heterogeneity across programmes and unemployed. Simulations show that "black-box" rules that reassign unemployed to programmes that maximise estimated individual gains can considerably improve effectiveness: up to 20% more (less) time spent in (un)employment within a 30 months window. A shallow policy tree delivers a simple rule that realizes about 70% of this gain.

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

JEL Classification: J680

Suggested Citation

Cockx, Bart L. W. and Lechner, Michael and Boolens, Joost, Priority of Unemployed Immigrants? A Causal Machine Learning Evaluation of Training in Belgium (2020). CESifo Working Paper No. 8297, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3603832

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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