Active labour market policies

Active labour market policies (ALMPs) are government programmes that intervene in the labour market to help the unemployed find work. Many of these programmes grew out of earlier public works projects designed to combat widespread unemployment in the developed world during the interwar period. Today, academic analysis of ALMPs is associated with economists such as Lars Calmfors and Richard Layard.

There are three main categories of ALMP:
*"Public employment services", such as job centres and labour exchanges, help the unemployed improve their job search effort by disseminating information on vacancies and by providing assistance with interview skills and writing a curriculum vitae.
*"Training schemes", such as classes and apprenticeships, help the unemployed improve their vocational skills and hence increase their employability.
*"Employment subsidies", either in the public or private sector, directly create jobs for the unemployed. These are typically short-term measures which are designed to allow the unemployed to build up work experience and prevent skill atrophy.

Active labour market policies are prominent in the economic policy of the Scandinavian countries, although over the 1990s they grew in popularity across Europe. Notable examples include the New Deal in the UK and many welfare-to-work programmes in the US.


*Calmfors, L. "Active labour market policy and unemployment: a framework for the analysis of crucial design features", OECD Economic Studies, 1994
*Layard, R., S. Nickell and R. Jackman, "Unemployment: macroeconomic performance and the labour market", Oxford University Press, 1991
*Robinson, P, "Active labour-market policies: a case of evidence-based policy-making?", Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Volume 16, No. 1, 2000

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