Active Labour Market Policy Evaluations: A Meta-Analysis


  • We thank the authors who responded to our survey for their co-operation and assistance. We also thank four anonymous referees for helpful suggestions, and participants of an IZA/World Bank workshop, participants of LAMES 2009 Buenos Aires, and seminar participants at the University of Chile and the Inter-America Development Bank for comments on earlier versions of the article. Our research was funded by the Center for Labor Economics at UC Berkeley, the German Science Foundation (DRG, SFB475), and the Leibniz Association (Pakt für Foschung und Innovation).

Corresponding author: David Card, University of California Berkeley. Email:


This article presents a meta-analysis of recent microeconometric evaluations of active labour market policies. We categorise 199 programme impacts from 97 studies conducted between 1995 and 2007. Job search assistance programmes yield relatively favourable programme impacts, whereas public sector employment programmes are less effective. Training programmes are associated with positive medium-term impacts, although in the short term they often appear ineffective. We also find that the outcome variable used to measure programme impact matters, but neither the publication status of a study nor the use of a randomised design is related to the sign or significance of the programme estimate.