World Bank Employment Policy Primer

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The World Bank Employment Policy Primer aims to provide a comprehensive, up-to-date resource on labor market policy issues. These short notes are concise summaries of best practice on various topics.

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Public Employment Services : Functions and Innovations

2003-09, Dar, Amit

Public Employment Services (PES) in industrialized countries have traditionally provided job-brokering services - arranging for jobseekers to obtain jobs and employers to fill vacancies. Increasingly, they also administer unemployment benefits and provide for the delivery of labor market programs. PES are still in their initial stages in developing countries where many still play the traditional role of job placement and registering the unemployed. There are several good arguments for the provision of employment services. By transmitting information, they can contribute to labor-market efficiency and transparency. PES can also promote equity in access to the labor market and help disadvantaged workers find employment. Furthermore, in countries that have an unemployment benefit system, public employment services, if well designed, can play an important role in verifying eligibility for receiving benefits and reduce costs associated with unemployment through ensuring rapid matches.

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Impact Evaluation : Techniques for Evaluating Active Labor Market Programs

2002-12, Dar, Amit

Over the past 40 years, "active" labor market programs (ALMPs) have emerged as an important employment policy tool. Their objective is primarily economic - to increase the probability that the unemployed will find jobs or that the underemployed will increase their productivity and earnings. ALMPs include job search assistance, training and retraining, and job creation programs (public works, micro-enterprise development, and wage subsidies). With economic reform, increasing liberalization of markets and growing concerns about the problems of unemployment, ALMPs have increasingly become an attractive option for policymakers. Expenditure on these programs has, however, not increased substantially over the 1990s, remaining fairly constant at around 0.7% of GDP. This reflects to some extent the ambivalence of policymakers about the effectiveness of ALMPs. A frequently asked question is, "Are these programs effective?" This note will focus on impact evaluations of ALMPs. It will discuss the objectives and importance of rigorous evaluations, highlight commonly used impact evaluation techniques, and discuss who should conduct evaluations.