Evaluating the effects of labour policies, incentives to firms, and welfare policies: methodological issues and case-studies


Research Project supported by the Italian Ministry of Education and Scientific Research, 2003

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The distinctive feature of this research programme is in keeping together

  1. a common methodological framework focused on policy analysis, with an emphasis on impact evaluation;
  2. a special care at gathering data information appropriate to the solution of the case-studies at hand;
  3. the analysis of selected policies in three broad fields: labour market, welfare, support to firms.

To ease exposition - and allowing for the unavoidable loss of details that any classification brings on - the project is made up of four main themes, largely complementary and closely linked each other:

  1. methodological issues related to programme evaluation, with some further links to cost-benefit analysis and to microsimulation models;
  2. selected case-studies from three broad fields:
    (B1) labour market policies,
    (B2) policies providing incentives to firms,
    (B3) welfare policies.

We plan to exploit - and whenever necessary to improve - several microdata sources:

  1. the longitudinal panel from the INPS archive, 1985-1999 developed by the RU in Turin (further improvements and up-date will take place in the next two years);
  2. the firms and workers INPS archive (all population) for the Veneto region, 1974-1997 (with extension to the entire region and up-dating in the next two years);
  3. the Netlabor archive resulting from the administrative operation of the (previously State run and now Region run) Labour Exchange for the Veneto region, 1995-2003;
  4. the data base resulting from the survey on households living conditions in Tuscany;
  5. several cross-sections as well as linked panel samples from the Italian Labour Force Survey and from the Survey on Households Income and Wealth (Bank of Italy);
  6. the files from the Longitudinal Survey on Italian Households (Univ. of Trento);
  7. the files from a longitudinal survey on Italian firms carried out by Mediocredito Centrale;
  8. some ‘ad hoc’ files resulting from the implementation of the labour market policies we focus on.

Broadly speaking, expected results are as follows (further details on (i) and (ii) are in sec. 2.1 below):

  1. some methodological improvements in the tools we shall use to evaluate the programmes impact;
  2. a better understanding of the functioning of the policies we focus on and of their impact on individual conditions and behaviour;
  3. the development of some of the data-bases we shall use. After suitably experimenting them, we plan to make some of those data-bases available to the research community as public-use files.
    Systematic interchanges between the RUs will be promoted by organising meetings of the research group as well as open workshops on a regular basis (see the list of past events organised by the research group at www.stat.unipd.it/lavoro2001). It is also worth stressing that the composition of the research team – including statisticians, economists and sociologists – is such that it will enhance the opportunity of interactions among researchers with a significantly different background.

Finally, it is reasonable to expect that the robust evidence we aim to provide, on the effects of the policies we shall focus on, will play a role in the public debate on their reform. This is of particular value having in mind (i) the likely cuts to EU funding coming in a near future as a consequence of its enlargement, and (ii) the shift of the burden of designing and implementing active policies in the three fields we consider – labour market, welfare, incentives to firms – from central government to regional administrations.





Info: anna.giraldo@unipd.it