24 February 2014
The project is titled "ActiValuate: Counterfactual impact evaluation of a large activation programme" and the grant awarded to Queen Mary is 90,832 euros.
This project will conduct a rigorous counterfactual impact evaluation (CIE) of a large programme that sought to activate the unemployed in Portugal. This programme, “Convocatórias”, was rolled out in Portugal from early 2012, and involved, over that year, approximately 200,000 unemployed.
The programme was based on the call-up by jobcentres of individuals receiving unemployment benefits, with specific characteristics in terms of age and unemployment duration. These individuals were then subsequently directed by caseworkers towards training and other active labour market policies funded by the ESF or job interviews. This programme represented a major shift in terms of the activation efforts of the public employment service that were directed towards the long-term unemployed. Until then, most of the activation work delivered by jobcentres was targeted at the newly registered unemployed, in contrast to other Member States.
The CIE evaluation to be conducted will consider outcomes such as the transition from unemployment to employment or the transition from unemployment to participation in ALMPs. The main CIE methodology is the regression discontinuity design approach, exploring the specific definition of the priority groups targeted in the program (e.g. unemployed for at least six months only). The analysis will be conducted on individual-level, longitudinal data, merging public employment service and social security information, including an individual’s employment situation.
Simultaneously, the project will promote CIEs and foster their application in the context of ESF interventions in Portugal. This will be carried out by building up the internal CIE capacity of the co-applicant, POPH, the public agency responsible for ESF administration in Portugal, drawing on the partnership with the lead applicant, Queen Mary University of London, a leading European higher education institution. This collaboration will draw greatly on the principal investigator’s expertise in causal research in labour market settings and familiarity with ESF-related interventions.