Joint OECD/University of Maryland International Conference
Labour Activation in a Time of High Unemployment

14-15 November 2011

OECD Conference Centre, Paris
CC Room 4


The OECD and the University of Maryland are convening an international conference on European perspectives on 'Labour Activation in Times of High Unemployment. The purpose of the conference is to bring together leading scholars from Europe as well as from North America whose research focuses on labour activation in its various forms. In the context of high and often persistent unemployment in a number of OECD countries, the conference will help to shed light on whether changes are needed in various labour market policies and strategies to activate the unemployed back to work, and what lessons could be learned from the various adaptations implemented by several countries. To explore these issues we have invited European and U.S. scholars, researchers and policy analysts to exchange evidence-based conclusions about the operations and outcomes of different labour market programmes.
  • European researchers will present quantitative, evidence-based papers on what is known about the impact of various labour market policies and activation strategies, with a special emphasis on their utility during times of high unemployment.

  • U.S. scholars will serve as formal discussants for the European papers. They, too, will prepare papers in advance of the meeting that identify and highlight the European experiences that might be applied to U.S. policy and practice.

  • European policy makers and practitioners will discuss the most recent policy and programmatic developments that may not yet have been the subject of rigorous evaluation.
We also invite you to read a contextual analysis of labor activation, Welfare States Amid Economic Turmoil: Adjusting Work-oriented Policy, by Neil Gilbert and Douglas Besharov.

Monday, 14 November 2011

9:30 - 9:40 Welcoming Remarks
Richard Boucher, Deputy Secretary General, OECD, France
9:40 - 9:45 Introduction to Conference
Stefano Scarpetta, Deputy Director, Employment, Labour and Social Affairs, OECD, France

Douglas Besharov, Professor, University of Maryland School of Public Policy; Fellow, Atlantic Council, United States
9:45 - 10:00 Keynote Address: The Factors That Contribute to Success and Failure in Labour Activation (tentative title)
Aart de Geus, Bertlesmann Stiflung Executive Board, Germany; former Deputy Secretary General, OECD, France

Session I: The Political Economy of Labor Market Policy Reform
Edward Montgomery (Chair), Dean, Georgetown University Public Policy
Institute, Washington, DC, United States
10:00 - 10:15 Beyond Activation? Factors that Impede or Facilitate Post-Crisis Labour Market and Welfare Adjustment
Hedva Sarfati, Consultant, ISSA, Switzerland
Abstract      Paper       Presentation
10:15 - 10:20Questions
10:20 - 10:35 Labor Market Reform in a Dysfunctional Labor Market
Pedro Portugal, Research Economist, Bank of Portugal, Portugal
10:35 - 10:40Questions
10:40 - 10:55 Reforming an Insider-Outsider Labor Market: The Spanish Experience
Samuel Bentolila, Professor of Economics, CEMFI, Spain
Abstract      Paper       Presentation
10:55 - 11:00Questions
11:00 - 11:20 Coffee / Tea
11:20 - 11:35 Discussant
Aart de Geus, Bertelsmann Stiftung Executive Board, Germany; former Deputy Secretary General, OECD, France
11:35 - 11:45 Chair's Comments
Edward Montgomery, Dean, Georgetown University Public Policy Institute, United States
Paper       Presentation
11:45 - 12:15 Open Discussion
12:15 - 14:00 Lunch

Session II: Unemployment Insurance Programs
Jacob Alex Klerman (Chair), Principal Associate and Senior Fellow, Abt Associates, United States

14:00 - 14:15Unemployment Benefits and Activation as Influences on Labour Market Outcomes
David Grubb, Senior Economist, OECD, France
14:15 - 14:20Questions
14:20 - 14:35 Unemployment Insurance and Unemployment Dynamics in Europe
Konstantinos Tatsiramos, Lecturer, University of Leicester, United Kingdom; Visiting Research Fellow, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA), Germany
Abstract      Paper       Presentation
14:35 - 14:40Questions
14:40 - 14:55 Active Unemployment Insurance
Knut Røed, Senior Research Fellow, Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research, Norway
Paper       Presentation
14:55 - 15:00Questions
15:00 - 15:10 Discussant
Antoine Magnier, Director, Directorate for the Coordination of Research, Studies and Statistics (DARES), France
15:10 - 15:20 Chair's Comments
Jacob Alex Klerman, Principal Associate and Senior Fellow, Abt Associates, United States
Paper       Presentation
15:20 - 15:50 Open Discussion
15:50 - 16:10 Coffee / Tea

Session III: Outsourcing and Public/Private Partnerships
Phoebe Cottingham (Chair), Consultant, United States
16:10 - 16:25 Governing Public Employment Services: Recent Trends in Social Partnership and Privatization
J. Timo Weishaupt, Professor for the Sociology of Welfare States, University of Mannheim, Germany
Abstract       Paper
16:25 - 16:30 Questions
16:30 - 16:45 The World of Welfare to Work
Michael Hobday, President, Human Services International, MAXIMUS Inc., Australia
16:45 - 16:50 Questions
16:50 - 17:05 Measuring and molding: Australian employment services 2009 to 2012
Margaret McKinnon, Group Manager, Job Services Australia, Department of Education, Employment, and Workplace Relations, Australia
Paper       Presentation
17:05 - 17:10 Questions
17:10 - 17:20 Discussant
Wade Horn, Director, Deloitte Consulting LLP, United States
17:20 - 17:30 Chair's Comments
Phoebe Cottingham, Consultant, United States
17:30 - 18:00 Open Discussion
18:30 Conference Reception, OECD Chateau, hosted by the University of Maryland with the support of MAXIMUS

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

9:30 - 9:35Welcoming Remarks
Stefano Scarpetta, Deputy Director, Employment, Labour and Social Affairs, OECD, France

Douglas Besharov, Professor, University of Maryland School of Public Policy; Fellow, Atlantic Council, United States

Session IV: Social Assistance (Welfare) Programs
Ron Haskins (Chair), Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution, United States
9:35 - 9:50 The Activation of Minimum Income Recipients in Europe: Assessing the Impact of the Crisis
Ivar Lodemel, Professor and Research Director, Research Group for Inclusive Social Welfare Policies (GIV), Norway
Paper      Presentation
9:50 - 9:55 Questions
9:55 - 10:10 European and American Welfare Values: Four Case-Studies in Reform
Robert Walker, Professor and Deputy Head of Department at the Department of Social Policy and Social Work, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
Paper       Presentation
10:10 - 10:15 Questions
10:15 - 10:30 Do German Welfare-to-Work Programmes Reduce Welfare Dependency and Increase Employment?
Michael Lechner, Professor and Chair of Econometrics, University of St. Gallen, Switzerland
10:30 - 10:35 Questions
10:35 - 10:50 The Effectiveness of European Welfare-to-Work Policies
Jochen Kluve, Professor of Empirical Labor Economics, Humboldt University; Head of RWI-Berlin Germany
Abstract      Paper       Presentation
10:50 - 10:55 Questions
10:55 - 11:20 Coffee
11:20 - 11:40 Discussants
Dick Vink, Director, Dick Vink Advies, the Netherlands

Lawrence Mead, Professor of Politics and Public Policy, New York University, United States

11:40 - 11:50
Chair's Comments
Ron Haskins, Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution, United States
Paper       Presentation

11:50 - 12:20 Open Discussion
12:20 - 13:45 Lunch

Session V: Disability Programs
Mary Daly (Chair), Associate Director of Research and Group Vice President, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, United States

13:45 - 14:00 Crisis, Unemployment and Disability Benefits Claims: Does Structural Reform Matter?
Christopher Prinz, Senior Policy Analyst, OECD
14:00 - 14:05 Questions
14:05 - 14:20 Return to Work After Long Term Sickness: The Role of Private Versus Public Interventions
Philip de Jong, Professor of the Economics of Social Security, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Paper       Presentation
14:20 - 14:25 Questions
14:25 - 14:40 Swedish Policies for the Disabled. What Do We Know About the Effects?
Laura Hartman, Head of Analysis and Forecasts, Social Insurance Agency, Sweden; Associate Professor of Economics, Uppsala University, Sweden
Abstract      Paper       Presentation
14:40 - 14:45 Questions
14:45 - 15:05 Discussants
Carol Beattie, Disability and Work Division, Department of Work and Pensions, United Kingdom

Petter Odmark, Director, Social Insurance Division, Ministry of Health and Social Affairs, Sweden
15:05 - 15:15 Chair's Comments
Mary Daly, Associate Director of Research and Group Vice President, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, United States
15:15 - 15:35 Coffee
15:35 - 16:05 Open Discussion
16:05 Closing

With additional support from MAXIMUS, Inc.