What works? A simple question. One would think… Experience tells us that it is far from easy.
The work of the International Labour Organisation [ILO] and their “GAP MAP” is an outstanding and much needed contribution to International public policy debate: both at the tactical level of actually implementing policy with a high degree of confidence that it will work and perhaps most importantly, at the strategic level of developing a policy framework and legislative philosophy that is genuinely evidence-led.
Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission, recently said:
I cannot and will not accept that the millennials, Generation Y, might be the first generation in 70 years to be poorer than their parents
I would suggest that both global and Australian evidence [although lacking in Gap Map] suggests this is a clear and present danger…
Evidence Gap Map
This Evidence Gap Map is an interactive platform to explore the impact of 107 interventions on employment, earnings and business performance outcomes. Click on the image to be taken to the ILO Evidence Gap Map.
Evidence or Just the vibe?
There are and have been many false-starts in the “evidence” approach in Australian public policy, particularly in Education and Training, although it is not alone in this respect. The Australian Productivity Commission hosted a roundtable event in 2009 – ” Strengthening Evidence-Based Policy in the Australian Federation” to focus on and perhaps standardise the challenges and opportunities appearing on the Australian policy landscape.
The most recent report on Australian Poverty by ACOSS suggests 17.4% of all children in Australia are living in poverty, an increase of 2 percentage points over the past 10 years. Clearly the summative data is readily available to us, yet there appears much work yet to be done upstream.
A consistent voice in the “evidence-in-public-policy” field has been The Hon. Dr. Andrew Leigh MP, currently Shadow Assistant Treasurer and Member for Fraser, but previously Economics Professor [and prolific blogger] at the Australian National University. In 2009 he asked the question, What evidence Should Policy Makers Use? [PDF]. Dr. Leigh continues to contribute [thankfully] to the push for strengthening public policy through evidence-based policy development, but I wonder what his experience is now of the public policy challenge from within?
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has placed “achieving full and productive employment and decent work for all” squarely at the centre of the new development vision, with youth explicitly identified as a key target group. Addressing the youth employment challenge therefore ranks high among international and local development priorities.
Understanding what works to improve youth labour market outcomes is therefore of paramount importance to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
Of the nearly 200 million unemployed people today, about 37 per cent – more than 70 million – are between the ages of 15 and 24.
Victorian Youth Unemployment
Youth Unemployment Ratio
A good start, a long way to go.
- The Evidence Gap Map – International Labour Organisation
- Global Trends in Employment – “Scaling up investments in decent jobs for youth” [PDF] – ILO
- Strengthening Evidence-Based Policy in the Australian Federation – 2009 Australian Productivity Commission
- Australian Child Poverty – ACOSS 2016
- What Evidence Should Policy Makers Use ? [PDF] – Andrew Leigh – 2009
The latest report on