The impact of Active Labour Market Programmes: evidence of deactivation
Purpose - This paper explores the experience(s) of participants in Active Labour Market Programmes (ALMPs) in Ireland. The paper utilizes narrative structuring to provide an enhanced understanding of the experience of participants. Design Methodology – Maynard (1993) and Hujer et al. (2009) explain that most of the empirical studies on the effects of ALMPs are econometric in nature. The studies draw on individual data in order to evaluate whether participation in a programme increases the individual probability of leaving unemployment. This paper adopts a qualitative approach to study the impact that ALMPs have on participants. Findings - The data collected during depth interviews indicate a mixed experience for participants. Participants found the experience of completing the ALMPs positive in the main. However, the impact on the outlook and job prospects of participants is not encouraging. Too often the respondents relate a view that the ALMPs were a short-term fix with the prospect of secure employment unlikely. Practical Implications – Tentative recommendations are made which will aid the future delivery of similar programmes. This paper proposes that evaluation using hard measures will typically produce a positive image of ALMPs. However, the use of soft measures highlights a greater complexity of impacts on the participants. Originality/value - The understanding of the experience of participants in ALMPs is enriched through the use of narrative structuring which facilitates a deeper exploration of the experience of participants. Furthermore, this paper proposes the potential problem of deactivation in addition to the problems of: deadweight loss; substitution and displacement reported by Fraser (1999).
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