The Evaluation of Active Labour Market Policies
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The Evaluation of Active Labour Market Policies

Measures, Public Private Partnerships and Benchmarking

Edited by Jaap de Koning

This book argues that active labour market policies are necessary to improve the position of the unemployed but have so far performed relatively poorly. The contributing authors seek ways to improve active labour market policy and consider three means of doing so: improving the quality by better targeting and by better-designed measures, more efficient implementation and delivery, and better performance by benchmarking the various implementation agencies involved.
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Chapter 5: Recent Developments in Active Labour Market Policies in the UK: The Shifting Focus from Unemployment to Inactivity

Nigel Meager


Nigel Meager 1 INTRODUCTION This chapter draws on the United Kingdom (UK) literature to examine the new forms of active labour market policies (ALMPs) emerging in the UK in recent years. We aim to draw conclusions regarding their underlying rationales (especially the extent to which they are based on a reliable diagnosis of current labour market problems in the UK), and their impact and effectiveness. Our central interest is in ALMPs targeted at economically inactive subgroups of the population. We look in particular at measures focusing on disabled people (recipients of ‘incapacity-related benefits’ rather than, for example, recipients of unemployment benefits). Reference is also, however, made to ALMPs which have focused on other inactive groups, particularly, lone parents and older people of working age who may have effectively withdrawn from or been excluded from the labour market. It is clear from official UK policy documents, as well as the evaluation literature, that such measures are receiving a growing share of the expenditure on ALMP, are seen by politicians as being of high priority, and are the area of labour market policy which exhibit the greatest degree of recent innovation (in terms of the range of instruments incorporated in the measures, and the mix of delivery agencies contracted or created to implement them). This shift in policy focus stems from the beginning of the current Labour government in the UK (from 1997), although in the early years of that government the greatest emphasis was still placed...

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