The more things change, the more they stay the same. A follow up of participants in Social Fund financed projects

Publication year: 2014

Research report 2014/5, 77 p.

Every year in Sweden, over one hundred thousand job-seekers are assigned to local labour market policy measures, of which a large proportion are financed with money from the European Social Fund. But what do we actually know about the contents of these Projects and their effects on the participants’ chances of getting a job? What could be done to improve this knowledge?

This report constitutes a follow-up of Labour Market Policies against the Odds (2014), which studied the labour market outcomes of job-seekers who had been assigned to Social Fund projects by the Swedish Public Employment Service. Here we go a step further and include all individuals who participated in a Social Fund project over a period of three years. The objective is to examine whether the participants’ participation in the projects improved their chances of getting a job or affected their subsequent incomes.

We find relatively small – but transient – positive effects of participation in ESF-projects on employment chances and income from work. However, our sensitivity analyses indicate that even these small effects can be questioned. One of the important conclusions drawn in the report is that the opportunities for evaluating the effects of these projects are very limited. The available information on the contents of the projects is poor, and the projects have not been designed in a way that makes scientific evaluation possible. The report therefore concludes with recommendations that could improve the evaluability of Social Fund financed activities.

Download the report (pdf)

Publication year: 2014

Research report 2014/5, 77 p.

Every year in Sweden, over one hundred thousand job-seekers are assigned to local labour market policy measures, of which a large proportion are financed with money from the European Social Fund. But what do we actually know about the contents of these Projects and their effects on the participants’ chances of getting a job? What could be done to improve this knowledge?

This report constitutes a follow-up of Labour Market Policies against the Odds (2014), which studied the labour market outcomes of job-seekers who had been assigned to Social Fund projects by the Swedish Public Employment Service. Here we go a step further and include all individuals who participated in a Social Fund project over a period of three years. The objective is to examine whether the participants’ participation in the projects improved their chances of getting a job or affected their subsequent incomes.

We find relatively small – but transient – positive effects of participation in ESF-projects on employment chances and income from work. However, our sensitivity analyses indicate that even these small effects can be questioned. One of the important conclusions drawn in the report is that the opportunities for evaluating the effects of these projects are very limited. The available information on the contents of the projects is poor, and the projects have not been designed in a way that makes scientific evaluation possible. The report therefore concludes with recommendations that could improve the evaluability of Social Fund financed activities.

Download the report (pdf)