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Labour Market Policy and Unemployment

Impact and Process Evaluations in Selected European Countries

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.
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Chapter 7: Process evaluation of active labout market policies and trends in implementation regimes

Hugh Mosley and Els Sol


7. Process evaluation of active labour market policies and trends in implementation regimes1 Hugh Mosley and Els Sol This chapter first discusses ‘process evaluation’ and its relationship to impact evaluation. Whereas impact evaluation attempts to assess the effects of active labour market policy (ALMP) programmes on participants or – in aggregate impact analysis – regional or national labour markets, process analysis is primarily concerned with how ALMP programmes are implemented and how implementation affects programme outcomes. Thereafter three major trends in ALMP policy implementation are discussed: decentralization, co-operative networks, and contracting out. 1 PROCESS EVALUATION: THE IMPLEMENTATION BLACK BOX Policy-makers and policy researchers have increasingly come to realize that the organization of policy influences the final outcome. Traditionally, evaluation research focused on policy effects and the evaluation of labour market policies usually takes the form of impact analysis. Policy contents, that is, the ‘treatment’, are taken for granted and the institutional context in which policies are generated and transformed into programmes as well as policy implementation (the so-called ‘within-puts’) are neglected. Process analysis and process evaluation aim at opening the ‘black box’ of policy implementation. The goal of process evaluation is to contribute to the improvement of policy design in order to obtain better results. It is thus not an alternative to impact analysis but a necessary complement (Palumbo and Calista, 1990; Scheirer, 1994; Schmid, 1996). Classical evaluation research in labour market policy has been predominantly programme-oriented impact analysis. Using an explanatory model borrowed from medical research, evaluation has focused on...

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