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  • 1 University of Málaga, and Department of Applied Economics of Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain
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This paper evaluates the efficiency of Active Labour Market Policies (ALMPs) in the European Union (EU). The paper first reviews the main trends governing the evolution of the European Social Fund (ESF) since its creation. The ESF promotes public expenditure in ALMPs in order to foster social cohesion across the EU. In order to test to what extent this strategy can be backed up by facts, we estimate the impact of public expenditure on ALMPs on the employment rate using panel data from 28 European countries (1985–2011), taking into account the endogeneity of the explanatory variables and the dynamic behaviour of their relationship. Results support the hypothesis that expenditure in ALMPs is more beneficial for employment than aggregate public expenditure. In addition, we show that periphery countries observe a larger efficiency of their ALMPs. These results support the recent policy strategy undertaken by the European Commission to raise the budget devoted to ESF in Member States experiencing higher unemployment rates.

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