The two principal aims of labour market policies are to overcome market
failures preventing the efficient operation of labour markets and to
provide support for socio-economically disadvantaged groups facing
barriers to entry into formal employment. This Guide begins by
describing the particular characteristics of labour markets in Latin
America before presenting an analysis of the two kinds of active labour
market policy most widely implemented in the region to tackles these
issues - training and labour information programmes. The analysis
highlights the impacts they are having on employment rates, formality
and wages, particularly amongst women. The following section provides a
discussion of gender and labour markets, including a review of some
government strategies aimed at reducing inequality and improving access
to decent jobs for women. Finally, the Guide describes the main enabling
factors behind the emergence and implementation of active labour market
policies in the region and summarises key policy and practice lessons.
Links to further reading and key organisations are also provided to
guide readers to additional information.
The new generation of training programmes in Latin America has
transformed the role of government in the provision of labour training.
The state’s role has shifted from supplying training to promoting more
and better training through market mechanisms. In the process, it has
managed to improve the efficiency of its spending, in part through
better targeting of disadvantaged groups.
Key elements for the success of training programmes are: private sector
participation in the design phase; competition promoted on the basis of
relevance, quality and cost-efficiency; and a clear mechanism to link
training to a future job, such as through internships.
The impacts of training programmes on job quality (in terms of formal
employment rates and higher wages) tend to be positive, particularly for
women. Interestingly, impacts among women are generally greater than for
men. This indicates that these programmes may play an important role in
reducing gender inequalities in the labour market.
Jaramillo, M. ELLA Guide: Active Labour Market Policies in Latin America. ELLA, Practical Action Consulting, Lima, Peru (2013) 13 pp.