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 6: Active Labour Market Policies and Social Inclusion: The Case of Flemish Social Enterprises

Idesbald Nicaise


Idesbald Nicaise* 1 INTRODUCTION Much attention has been devoted to the role of activating labour market policies (ALMPs) in boosting transitions from unemployment into work. Other authors in this book have extensively studied the role of ‘making work pay’ measures in removing unemployment traps. This chapter highlights a different role of ALMPs, namely, investing in the capabilities and resources of vulnerable groups in order to strengthen their position on the labour market and to foster sustainable integration. The concept of sustainable labour market integration has several meanings. It may refer to durable employment careers, the quality of employment, and positive externalities – or at least the absence of negative externalities – on the overall social integration of the target group. In the past, ALMPs have all too often proved to be of poor quality and to result in short-term, poor-quality employment with no lasting impact on the labour market integration – let alone, social inclusion – of vulnerable groups. Some types of provision, however, aim to genuinely empower these job seekers and may thus yield more sustainable outcomes. In a comprehensive evaluation research sponsored by the Belgian Science Policy Office, we studied the long-term effects of social employment projects on participants, trying to identify these effects on the basis of modern welfare theory and measuring them by means of longitudinal data collected among the target group. Social employment is provided by three types of social enterprises in Flanders: – learn & work centres (leerwerkcentra) which offer work experience in combination with...

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