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Evaluating the effects of labor market policies on the employment prospects of women


It is often difficult for women to continue their work career after childbirth. Some decide to stay out of the labor market for many years, while others have prolonged unemployment spells, part time jobs, or low paid jobs. A range of active labor market programs exists that may help these women, like work experience programs and training programs. However, little is known about the effectiveness of such policies. This is partly due to the fact that for these women there are no observed labor market out comes immediately prior to participation in labor market programs. This research project aims to advance on this by way of structural empirical analysis of job search models for reintegrating women. The fundamental determinants of individual behavior wil l be estimated and the results will be used for the evaluation of actual and counterfactual policies. The approach will be interdisciplinary in the sense that economic, sociological and psychological explanations will be combined in the (utility function s in the) model. Structural analysis puts heavy requirements on the data. For this reason I will use a unique German administrative dataset that is both longitudinal and population-wide. This dataset has only just been made available for research and to date has not been used for this yet. I will evaluate existing policies, combinations of different programs (like a work experience program followed by a skill- enhancing program), as well as the effects of changes in the length and eligibility rules of the programs. In addition I will compare the results obtained by the structural analysis with those obtained by more traditional evaluation studies, notably with the matching method. The host institution (Tinbergen Institute) is perfectly equipped for t his, due to the excellent expertise on job search theories, structural empirical analysis, and interdisciplinary approaches.

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De Boelelaan 1105