Labour Market Policy and Unemployment

Labour Market Policy and Unemployment

Impact and Process Evaluations in Selected European Countries

Labour Markets and Employment Policy series

Edited by Jaap de Koning and Hugh Mosley

This book examines the effectiveness of active labour market policies and their contribution to the prevention of social exclusion. The evaluation studies reported in this volume focus on two aspects of active labour market policies that have been relatively neglected in previous research and merit special attention.

Chapter 6: Do active labour market policies matter in Spain?

María A. Davia, Carlos García-Serrano, Virginia Hernanz and Luis Toharia Cortés

Subjects: social policy and sociology, labour policy

Extract

María A. Davia, Carlos García-Serrano, Virginia Hernanz, Miguel A. Malo and Luis Toharia Cortés 1 INTRODUCTION Policy actions designed to combat unemployment in Spain have focused on legislative reforms and on income maintenance policies (usually known as passive policies). The latter have had a predominant role in labour market policy in terms of public resources devoted to unemployment benefits and in terms of public interest. Policies oriented towards improving the re-entry probability of unemployed workers – namely active labour market policies (ALMP) – have received lower priority compared with passive policies. In principle, however, the marginal role of ALMP in expenditure and public opinion should not have prevented such policies from being effective tools in combating unemployment and, in particular, long-term unemployment. This is important since it is widely agreed that the main objective of economic policy during the 1990s has been to reduce the persistently high Spanish unemployment rate and long duration of unemployment spells. This is connected with the concept of ‘transitional labour markets’, which are defined as institutionalized arrangements supporting the change of employment status or the combination of labour market work with other socially useful activities (Schmid, 1998). Since high and persistent long-term unemployment is one of the chief causes of social exclusion, institutional arrangements such as active labour market policies that reduce the inflow into and speed up the outflow from long-term unemployment should be considered essential. It is therefore important to evaluate ALMP programmes to find out whether they...

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