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IZA/World Bank Workshop: Evaluation of Labor Market Programs in Developing Countries

Organizers: Markus Frölich (University of Mannheim), Alpaslan Akay (IZA), Rita K. Almeida (World Bank), Jean Fares (World Bank)
Location:IZA, Bonn
Date:February 20, 2009 - February 21, 2009

Event Manager:

Ulrike Maurer (IZA)

Joblessness and underemployment are one of the most challenging economic and social problems policy makers face in developing countries. Underlying these challenges are a sustained increase in the number of young people entering the labor market, an increase in the labor force participation of women, changing labor market demands, globalization and the reduced job creation even in countries undergoing high growth episodes. Policy makers across the globe struggle to find strategies that increase the probability that the jobless will find jobs, the underemployed will increase their productivity and labor income, and that school-leavers will transition to work without extended delays. In particular, active labor market programs and youth employment programs are increasingly seen as attractive policy instruments. Each year, many countries spend important resources on these programs. However, empirical evidence of the effectiveness and efficiency of most of these programs remains largely undocumented.

Despite the urgent policy demand, a good understanding of labor markets in low and middle income countries is still lacking, and knowledge gaps persist on what works and under what conditions. An evidence-based policy approach in developing countries calls for the effectiveness of labor programs to be supported by rigorous evaluations. Moreover, most of the available empirical evidence on labor market programs focuses on OECD countries, where its impact has shown to be mixed and heterogeneous. However, unlike in the case of developed countries, data quality is usually a severe constraint in developing countries. Several conferences on this topic have provided a forum for discussion and dissemination for OECD countries. The IZA/World Bank Workshop on Evaluation of Labor Market Programs in Developing Countries aimed to identify lessons learned and knowledge gaps for labor market policies in developing countries.

The workshop discussed the effectiveness and efficiency of labor market programs, highlighting in particular micro evaluations of active labor market and youth employment programs. These programs include a wide range of activities intended to foster the quality of labor supply (e.g., training), to increase labor demand (e.g., public works, wage subsidies), or to improve the matching of workers and jobs (e.g., job search assistance, employment agencies, apprenticeship). Examples from developed countries that provide a useful benchmark for practitioners in developing countries were also discussed.

The audience included researchers at universities and development practitioners in international organizations, such as the World Bank and the OECD; members of evaluation and research departments of multilateral and bilateral institutions, including the World Bank, BMZ/KFW/GTZ, DFID, and AFD; and policy makers interested in evaluation and evidence-based policy making.


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Friday, February 20:

08:30 - 09:00   Registration
09:00 - 09:30   Welcome and Opening Remarks
Marco Caliendo (IZA Director of Research), Markus Frölich (University of Mannheim and IZA) and Ariel Fiszbein (Chief Economist Human Development Network, World Bank)
09:30       Session 1: Youth Employment Programs (School to Work Transition)
  Chair: Marco Caliendo (IZA)
09:30 - 10:00   Adriana Kugler (University of Houston), Orazio Attanasio (University College London), Costas Meghir (University College London and IZA)
  "Subsidizing Vocational Training for Disadvantaged Youth in Developing Countries: Evidence from a Randomized Trial"
10:00 - 10:30   Francis J. Teal (University of Oxford), Courtney Monk (University of Oxford), Justin Sandefur (University of Oxford)
  "Does Doing an Apprenticeship Pay Off? Evidence from Ghana"
10:30 - 10:50   Discussant for both papers: Carmen Pagés (Inter-American Development Bank and IZA)
10:50 - 11:00   General Discussion
11:00 - 11:30   Coffee/Tea Break
11:30       Session 2: Entrepreneurship and Self-Employment Programs
  Chair: Markus Frölich (University of Mannheim)
11:30 - 11:50   Rita K. Almeida (World Bank), Emanuela Galasso (World Bank)
  "Jump-starting Self-Employment? Evidence for Welfare Participants in Argentina"
11:50 - 12:10   Steffen Künn (IZA), Marco Caliendo (IZA)
  "Long-Term Effects of Start-up Subsidies in Germany"
12:10 - 12:30   Matthias Schündeln (Harvard University), Bailey Klinger (Harvard University)
  "Can Entrepreneurial Activity Be Taught? Quasi-Experimental Evidence from Central America"
12:30 - 12:50   Discussant for these papers: Miriam Bruhn (World Bank)
12:50 - 13:00   General Discussion
13:00 - 14:00   Lunch
14:00       Session 3: Evaluation Methods and Approaches
  Chair: Rita K. Almeida (World Bank)
14:00 - 14:40   Keynote Speech: Gerard J. van den Berg (Free University Amsterdam and IZA), Monica Costa Dias (University of Porto, IFS), Antoine Bozio (IFS)
"Experiments and Regression Discontinuity with Duration Outcomes"
14:40 - 15:10   David McKenzie (World Bank), Miriam Bruhn (World Bank)
  "In Pursuit of Balance: Randomization in Practice in Development Field Experiments"
15:10 - 15:20   Discussant: Markus Frölich (University of Mannheim and IZA)
15:20 - 15:30   General Discussion
15:30 - 16:00   Coffee/Tea Break
16:00       Session 4: Employment Services and Labor Market Intermediation
  Chair: Alpaslan Akay (IZA)
16:00 - 16:30   Núria Rodríguez-Planas (Universitat Autňnoma de Barcelona)
  "Understanding Why Public Employment Services and Small-Business Assistance Programs Work at Getting the Unemployed Back to Work: Evidence from Romania"
16:30 - 17:00   Manuel Bagues (Universidad Carlos III, Madrid), Mauro Sylos Labini (IMT Lucca Institute for Advanced Studies)
  "Do On-Line Labor Market Intermediaries Matter? The Impact of AlmaLaurea on the University-to-Work Transition"
17:00 - 17:20   Discussant for both papers: Milan Vodopivec (World Bank and IZA)
17:20 - 17:30   General Discussion
19:00       Dinner

Saturday, February 21:

09:00       Session 5: World Bank Evaluations of ALMP & Youth Employment Programs
09:00 - 10:00   Panel Session
Chair: Ariel Fiszbein (Chief Economist Human Development Network, World Bank)
Labor Market and Youth Employment Programs in Developing Countries
Adriana Kugler (University of Houston and IZA), Harry Patrinos (World Bank), Gordon Betcherman (World Bank)
10:00 - 10:20   General Discussion
10:20       Session 6: Meta Analysis of ALMP Evaluations
  Chair: Rita K. Almeida (World Bank)
10:20 - 10:50   Jochen Kluve (RWI Essen), David Card (University of California, Berkeley and IZA), Andrea Weber (University of California, Berkeley and IZA)
  "Active Labor Market Policy Evaluations: A Meta-analysis"
10:50 - 11:00   Discussant: Hartmut Lehmann (University of Bologna and IZA)
11:00 - 11:10   General Discussion
11:10 - 11:30   Coffee/Tea Break
11:30       Session 7: Ongoing Evaluations in Low Income Countries
  Chair: Gordon Betcherman (World Bank)
11:30 - 11:45   Anna Fruttero (World Bank)
  "Implementation Lessons from Honduras 'Mi Primero Empleo'"
11:45 - 12:00   Cornelia Tesliuc (World Bank)
  "Youth Employment Training Program - Lessons from the Dominican Republic"
12:00 - 12:15   Jonas Hjort (University of California, Berkeley)
  "Evaluating Vouchers for Vocational and Technical Training in Kenya"
12:15 - 12:30   Sebastian Martinez (World Bank), Christopher Blattman (Yale University), Nathan Fiala (World Bank)
  "The NUSAF Evaluation: A Cross-Cutting Design and Innovative Measurement Instruments"
12:30 - 12:45   David McKenzie (World Bank and IZA)
"Evaluating Wage Subsidies and Business Training for Microenterprises in Sri Lanka"
12:45 - 13:00   General Discussion
13:00 - 14:00   Lunch
14:00       Session 8: Job Training and Employment Subsidies
  Chair: Markus Frölich (University of Mannheim)
14:00 - 14:30   Pablo Ibarrarán (Inter-American Development Bank), David Rosas Shady (Inter-American Development Bank)
  "Evaluating the Impact of Job Training Programs in Latin America: Evidence from IDB funded Operations"
14:30 - 15:00   Carmen Pagés (Inter-American Development Bank), Gordon Betcherman (World Bank), Meltem Daysal (University of Maryland)
  "Do Employment Subsidies Work? Evidence from Regionally Targeted Subsidies in Turkey"
15:00 - 15:20   Discussant for both papers: Francis J. Teal (University of Oxford and IZA)
15:20 - 15:30   General Discussion
15:30 - 16:00   Coffee/Tea Break
16:00       Session 9: Workfare Programs
  Chair: Melanie Khamis (IZA)
16:00 - 16:30   Philip K. Robins (University of Miami), Charles Michalopoulos (MDRC), David Card (University of California at Berkeley and IZA)
  "When Financial Work Incentives pay for themselves: Evidence from a Randomized Social Experiment for Welfare Recipients"
16:30 - 17:00   Ulf Rinne (IZA), Holger Bonin (ZEW Mannheim and IZA)
  "Beautiful Serbia"
17:00 - 17:20   Discussant for both papers: Adriana Kugler (University of Houston and IZA)
17:20 - 17:30   General Discussion
17:30 - 17:40   Coffee/Tea Break
17:40 - 18:00   Concluding Remarks and Main Knowledge Gaps
Rita Almeida (World Bank and IZA) and Mario Macis (University of Michigan and IZA)
19:00       Dinner

List of Participants

Alpaslan Akay (IZA)
Mevlude Akbulut-Yuksel (University of Houston)
Rita Almeida (World Bank)
Manuel Bagues (Universidad Carlos III, Madrid)
Gordon Betcherman (World Bank)
Hanka Boldemann (GTZ)
Miriam Bruhn (World Bank)
Marco Caliendo (IZA)
Sebastian Fehrler (University of Zurich)
Ariel Fiszbein (Chief Economist Human Development Network, World Bank)
Markus Frölich (University of Mannheim)
Anna Fruttero (World Bank)
Getinet Haile (University of Mannheim)
Jonas Hjort(University of California, Berkeley)
Pablo Ibarraran (Inter-American Development Bank)
Melanie Khamis (IZA)
Jochen Kluve (RWI Essen)
Philipp Kruschel (GTZ)
Steffen Künn (IZA)
Adriana Kugler (University of Houston)
Andreas Landmann (University of Mannheim)
Hartmut Lehmann (University of Bologna)
Mario Macis (University of Michigan)
Sebastian Martinez (World Bank)
David McKenzie (World Bank)
Markus Olapade (University of Mannheim)
Carmen Pagés (Inter-American Development Bank)
Silvia Paruzzolo (World Bank)
Harry Patrinos (World Bank)
Markus Pilgrim (Youth Employment Network (UN, ILO, World Bank))
Robert Poppe (University of Mannheim)
Ulf Rinne (IZA)
Philip Robins (University of Miami)
Nuria Rodriguez-Planas (Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona)
Ricarda Schmidl (IZA)
Matthias Schündeln (Harvard University)
Zahra Siddique (IZA)
Joana Silva (World Bank)
Darjusch Tafreschi (University of St. Gallen)
Francis Teal (University of Oxford)
Cornelia Tesliuc (World Bank)
Gerard van den Berg (Free University Amsterdam)
Milan Vodopivec (World Bank)
Björn Vollan (University of Mannheim)
Michaela Zintl (Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany)