EXCEPT project working paper number 5 "Overview of Meta-Analysis of Active Labour Market Programs" by Marti Taru is now available on the project website
The overview looks at the impact of Active Labour Market Programs on reducing periods of unemployment and promoting employment. Systematic reviews and meta-analyses were used to assess the impact of ALMP-s. A characteristic feature of these studies is that they build on results obtained from studies which use only experimental or quasi-experimental design.
The overview shows that in general there is not much evidence of effects of ALMPs. There is even less evidence of their effects on young people. Available research shows that ALMPs in general are not very effective;, most have no effect or a negative effect. The overall picture is more positive when only outcome indicators are analysed but becomes more bleak when cost-benefit analysis is carried out. This result is surprising since ALMP programs are carefully designed and implemented with the aim of supporting people to find a job.
The finding can partly be explained by the fact that meta-analyses use pooled data which masks effects shown in individual studies and do not take into account interaction effects and contextual factors. As studies show, interaction effects (e.g. how useful a particular type of ALMP measure is for a particular target group) and contextual factors (e.g. effectiveness of ALMP measures during economic growth or recession) play an important role in understanding the role of a particular ALMP program.