De onrealistische evaluatie van arbeidsmarktbeleid | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 21, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0169-2216
  • E-ISSN: 2468-9424


The unrealistic evaluation of labour market policies

The unrealistic evaluation of labour market policies

Active labour market policies have come under severe attack by the results of evaluation studies in various countries. In addition to this, labour economists ask for still more rigid evaluation methods, preferably based on experimental designs. The assumptions of these methods can be contrasted with Pawson & Tilley’s ‘Realistic Evaluation’ approach. From this we conclude that the current emphasis by economists on ‘pure effects’ and ‘net results’ (1) can lead to undue corrections that reflect an unrealistic view of policy measures and (2) does not fit well into the peculiarities of the labour market. A more realistic evaluation approach is called for, directed towards the testing and improvement of substantive policy theories. “What works for whom under which circumstances?” should be the leading question in evaluation research.


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