Impact and Process Evaluations in Selected European Countries
Labour Markets and Employment Policy series
Edited by Jaap de Koning and Hugh Mosley
Chapter 6: Do active labour market policies matter in Spain?
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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