Counterfactual evaluation of youth employment policies - results available!

Counterfactual evaluation of youth employment policies - results available!

The results of the studies aiming to evaluate youth employment policies in Spain, Italy, Hungary and Poland are available now.


Four years since the introduction of the European Youth Guarantee, comprehensive evaluations of policies aimed at combating youth unemployment and inactivity are still lacking. In particular, there is a lack of research on specific initiatives stemming from the EYG in a cross-country framework that enables us to identify the patterns of successes, failures, and ongoing challenges of these programmes. Our transnational research network aims to evaluate the job trials/subsidies for different job contracts offered to youth while paying particular attention to the gender dimension of policy targeting and outcomes. We are happy to share the results of studies from Italy, Spain, Hungary and Poland.

The Italian study uses a counterfactual approach on administrative registry data to evaluate the impact on youth employment of two selected demand-side public policies implemented in Italy in 2015: the social security costs rebates (Law 190/2014, art. 1, c. 118) and the employers’ expectation of reduced firing costs of employees (D. lgs n. 23/2015 under Law 183/2014). The findings confirm previous evaluation studies available in the literature and show that the presence of the two policies has a positive impact on the share of new hires with an open-ended contract over the total employment contracts registered in 2015.

The Spanish evaluation analyses the impact of the internship contract (IC) through the use of
administrative data (social security records). The IC was originally designed to promote job stability for young people by incentivising firms to invest in training. The study examines whether this objective has been met, and reaches very negative conclusions. The first result shows that those young workers who sign an IC have a reduced probability of remaining at the firm, compared to young workers with similar characteristics and a temporary contract of more than three months.

The Hungarian partner provides a counterfactual evaluation of a publicly funded, short-term hiring subsidy designed for young jobseekers: the 90-day job trial programme, which was introduced in Hungary in 2015 as a part of the Youth Guarantee scheme. The analysis is based on a linked administrative dataset of PES registers and social security records. The authors rely on propensity score matching for causal inference: they compare job trial participants with participants in public works and training programmes. Their estimates indicate that compared to participation in the public work programme, participation in the 90-day job trial significantly improve employment probability six months after the programme ended, by 5.7- 7.3% on the whole sample, but that it is not more effective than participation in training programmes.

This Polish paper compares the relative effectiveness of selected active labour market policies available to young unemployed people in Poland in the years 2015-2016. The study uses rich administrative data and propensity score matching techniques to control for the non-random selection of unemployed individuals into alternative interventions. The authors find large negative employment effects of participating in public works programmes, particularly among disadvantaged individuals. The differences in effectiveness between other interventions are rather small, and most become insignificant over time. The authors show that vouchers that allow unemployed individuals find on-the-job training providers themselves are more effective than on-the-job training schemes in which the unemployed individuals are directed to the training providers by the public employment services (PES).

All studies as well as the policy brief are now available in the publications section.