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How effective are hiring subsidies to reduce long-term unemployment among prime-aged jobseekers? Evidence from Belgium

Research Memorandum by Sam Desiere (Ghent University), Bart Cockx (Ghent University)

Hiring subsidies are widely used to create (stable) employment for the long-term unemployed. This paper exploits the abolition of a hiring subsidy targeted at long-term unemployed jobseekers over 45 years of age in Belgium to evaluate its effectiveness in the short and medium run. Based on a triple difference methodology the hiring subsidy is shown to increase the job finding rate by 13% without any evidence of spill-over effects. This effect is driven by a positive effect on individuals with at least a bachelor’s degree. However, the hiring subsidy mainly created temporary short-lived employment: eligible jobseekers were not more likely to find employment that lasted at least twelve consecutive months than ineligible jobseekers.

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