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News | 25 Mar 2024

What’s the impact of public jobs?

On 13 March, during a joint event with the Irish Department of Social Protection and the OECD, the Competence Centre on Microeconomic Evaluation of the Joint Research Centre officially launched a report on “Impact Evaluation of Ireland’s Active Labour Market Policies”.

On 13 March in Dublin, in a public event gathering high-level representatives from the Irish Department of Social Protection and the Labour Market Advisory Council, the OECD and the Analysis and Statistics Unit of DG Employment, the report on the Impact Evaluation of Ireland's Active Labour Market Policies  was officially launched. The report is part of the European Commission and OECD joint project on policy impact evaluation using administrative and survey data, the first one jointly authored by the OECD, the JRC – its Competence Centre on Microeconomic Evaluation – and a Member State. Other reports in the series include Lithuania, Finland, Greece, Portugal and Slovenia.

The impact evaluations presented within the Ireland report are of particular importance since they focus on vulnerable groups in the labour market and specifically on the long-term unemployed (LTU). Community Employment (CE) and Tús are the two main direct job creation programmes for the LTU with 20,000 and 5,000 average annual participants. CE envisages one-year placements, but repeated participations are common, and a very mild training component. Tús has one-year placements with no extensions, a large random referral share and no training. Both CE and Tús have mid-term positive effects on the number of weeks in employment of up to four more weeks with respect to the control group and on annual earnings of up to 2,000 Euros. CE also reduces the probability to stay on disability benefit and enhances that to receive the Back-to-Education Allowance, a symptom that positive effects are present also on education. Effects are stronger for prime-aged LTU.

The report also analyses the typical individual trajectories across selected Active Labour Market Policies (ALMPs) and labour market states. It finds that within four years from becoming LTU, 17% of eligible individuals never participate in any of the support schemes considered, nor are employed. On the other hand, 60% are employed without any type of support within four years from becoming LTU, even after prolonged spells of unemployment. Despite the strong focus of ALMPs in the country on direct job creation, with half of the Irish ALMP spending devoted to such programmes, only 7.5% of jobseekers participate in CE within four years from becoming long-term unemployed, and 6.6% in Tús.

The main take-home messages for Ireland are to maintain CE and Tús, possibly with a better targeting and a more generous training budget, although more research is needed to fully understand the incremental role played by this component within CE. Second, the report recommends to continue to develop a longitudinal dataset for research purposes that maximizes the power of the available administrative data, a path that the Department of Social Protection is already brilliantly taking with the development of the Work and Welfare Longitudinal Database (WWLD).

People - What’s the impact of public jobs?
Related links
Publication page 
Pilot studies on impact evaluation of labour market and social policies through the use of linked administrative and survey data (VS-2020-0 368)
Evaluations of Department of Social Protection of Ireland
Ministers Humphreys and O'Brien welcome publication of joint OECD, EU Commission DSP evaluation of Community Employment and Tús