The PSI Blog

PSI launches archive of labour market evaluations
Michael White

Over roughly two decades (1990-2013) the Policy Studies Institute (PSI) has been continuously involved in evaluating the labour market programmes initiated by government departments. Most of these evaluations have used quantitative and economic evaluation methods. The results of this research are potentially of value to researchers and to policy makers since they show both what has proved effective (and how) and what has worked less well (and why). This PSI archive has been prepared to make it easier for anyone to access the original studies and to find quickly what is relevant to a particular subject or interest.

The collection is confined to quantitative evaluations, and is organized by type of labour market programme. For example, you can find studies grouped under such headings as 'New Deal' programmes for young unemployed people, Labour market programmes for lone parents, Training programmes for unemployed people, and Job search services for the unemployed. This makes it easy to see at a glance what work has been done at PSI over the years on a particular theme that is likely to be of continuing policy concern. Along with the bibliographic reference for each study, there is a link to the full-text, where available*.

Nearly all reports were written for policy audiences and it is hoped that each report will make the research results accessible to the non-specialist reader.

Finally, there are some earlier PSI studies of unemployment which may be of some background interest, and which PSI is making accessible here in digital format. These include a 1994 book of edited papers, Unemployment, public policy and the changing labour market, from a research conference hosted by the then Employment Service (forerunner of the Jobcentre Plus organization).  Several of the papers may have some continuing relevance to current debates, eg, concerning hardship, job search, part-time working and precarious jobs. Also, we have made available two papers, one on psychosocial health issues among young unemployed people and the other on the effects of the New Deal on health, based on research funded by the Department of Health. The relationships between health and unemployment, or between unemployment and health, surely deserve renewed attention at this time when many people may be experiencing severe stress as a result of unstable employment and financial hardship.

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