The Evaluation of Australian Labour Market Assistance Policy
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This thesis is comprised of a series of published papers relating to the evaluation of active assistance measures for the unemployed in Australia. It offers both applied evaluations of active assistance measures as well as critical assessment of the evaluation approaches that have dominated the literature and policy formation in Australia. "Active" assistance for the unemployed is distinguished from "passive" assistance, such as income support.The motivation behind the work lies in the fact that a very large amount of public expenditure is directed to active assistance for the unemployed. Over $2 billion dollars was spent on labour market programs at the height of the Working Nation package in each of 1995-96 and 1996-97, and $1.5 billion was allocated to "labour market assistance to jobseekers and industry" in the most recent (2001-02) Commonwealth budget. Despite this considerable past and ongoing expenditure, the evaluation effort in Australia has been far short of international best practice. As a consequence, there is no convincing empirical evidence as to how effectively these public resources are being used, or of the relative merits of various options in the design of active interventions for the unemployed.Ultimately, the goal of the research is to improve supply-side policies designed to address unemployment. As stated, it aims to do this through original empirical evaluations of programs and through critical assessment of existing evaluations and institutional arrangements.
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