Job Search Assistance Programs in Europe

Evaluation Methods and Recent Empirical Findings

  • Stephan L. Thomsen
Schlagworte: Job search assistance programs, active labor market policy, evaluation methods, Europe, JEL: J68, C31


Job search assistance programs are part of active labor market policy in many countries. The main characteristics of these activities are an intensified counseling and a job search monitoring; in addition, several countries integrate courses teaching further skills into the programs. Job search assistance programs should help to increase the employment chances and to reduce the unemployment duration of the job seekers. In this paper, recent empirical findings from evaluation studies for 9 European countries are reviewed and implications with regard to the effectiveness of the activities are derived. To make the findings of various studies evaluating the different programs comparable, the methodological issues of the empirical approaches applied to estimate the causal effects of the programs are discussed in detail. In addition, relevant characteristics of the unemployment insurance systems, the assignment process, and the content of programs are presented to derive meaningful implications. The comparison of the programs takes account of individual effects and, if available, cost benefit considerations. The results show that job search assistance programs tend to provide an effective means to reduce individual unemployment, particularly if provided as combinations of intensive counseling and short-term training courses.